Center for Human Rights writes to Notre Dame on behalf of CIW
Office of the General Counsel
University of Notre Dame
VIA FAX: 574/283-0294
Dear Ms. Kaesebier:
The Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Memorial Center for Human Rights (CHR) has chosen three members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), Julia Gabriel, Lucas Benitez, and Romeo Ramirez as the 2003 RFK Human Rights Award Laureates. They were chosen for their efforts to combat modern-day slavery in the U.S. agriculture industry. We appreciate the commitment and solidarity of the students of the University of Notre Dameís (UND) to CIWís social change goals: ending modern day slavery and gaining a livable wage for all farmworkers.
As you may know, these human rights defenders have adopted innovative strategies to create the leverage that will move them closer to achieving their social change goals. Key among these is the national boycott of Taco Bell, Inc. We are targeting Taco Bell because they are a major buyer of Florida tomatoes, yet they refuse to take a responsible role in addressing the gross human rights violations in their supply chain. Subsequently, the CHR has partnered with the CIW and will support the Boycott the Bell Campaign, as well as, the Boot the Bell Campaign until Taco Bell and its parent company, YUM! Brand, Inc. begins to a policy of zero tolerance for slave labor and a livable wage for all farmworkers in their supply chain.
We know that your university would not want to be associated with an organization that has so little regard for the human rights abuses and lacks a zero tolerance policy for slave labor practices in its supply chain.
It is our understanding that while there is not a Taco Bell franchise on the University of Notre Dame's campus, the Sports Division of the school has a contact with Taco Bell to provide radio advertisements during UND games. We want to add our voice to the many students who seek corporate responsibility on the part of Taco Bell, Inc. and its parent company YUM! Brand, Inc. We strongly lend our support to their efforts urging the UND's administration to cancel its advertising contract with Taco Bell, Inc. We thank you in advance for your support of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers as well as all farmworkers across the nation. If you should have any questions, please contact me at 202/463-7575.
Robert F. Kennedy Memorial
Center for Human Rights