In August, representatives of Migrant Justice wrote to the corporate offices of Hannaford Supermarket inviting the company to join the Milk with Dignity Campaign and are awaiting a reply. The campaign, which calls on dairy companies to ensure respect for human rights in their supply chains, has brought positive changes to Ben & Jerry’s, and could, according to campaign allies, improve the lives of many more workers if Hannaford joins the program.
On Saturday, November 2, Migrant Justice will hold a day of action around New England to urge Hannaford to take responsibility for alleged human rights abuses in its own supply chain, abuses which Migrant Justice disclosed in 2018.
Sylvia Knight, a member of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Burlington, who works closely with Migrant Justice commented, “Fortunately, our state has moved beyond the pro-slavery position of Vermont’s first bishop, Henry Hopkins, but sadly, too many immigrant farmworkers are still working in slave-like conditions in Vermont’s iconic dairy industry. It is time for us to stand with the strong, creative people of Migrant justice, resist such injustice and violations of human dignity, and urge Hannaford to join the Milk with Dignity program.”
The National Council of Churches, the Presbyterian Church, and T’Ruah, an organization of rabbis and cantors, endorse the Milk with Dignity Campaign. Individuals may pledge their support by signing the letter to Hannaford at www.migrantjustice.net. The website includes a short video on the benefits of Milk with Dignity. Additionally, Sylvia has offered the following “Meditation on Dignity” for use in worship and meditation:
Meditation on Dignity for November 2, 2019
Day of Action to persuade Hannaford to join Milk with Dignity
By Sylvia Knight
Dignity, essence of being human, so deep yet so fragile, so needful of our attention and care–
Whatever your Source, deep within us, deep within all Creation, keep us today in your embrace.
Help us to follow in the footsteps of those who have honored dignity in others before us:
Isaiah the prophet, who preached justice for the poor, knew the dignity of laborers and their need for a day of rest –
Jesus of Nazareth, who helped people know their own dignity in spite of oppression and advocated for a different world order–
Mahatma Gandhi, who saw the oppression of his people in India and worked with them for dignity and liberation–
Dorothy Day, who lived in intentional poverty and honored the dignity of poor workers in this country through the Catholic Worker Movement–
Bishop Oscar Romero, whose heart was changed by his people in El Salvador who were being crushed by state violence, who spoke truth to power about justice and human dignity —
Nelson Mandela, who struggled for his people’s dignity, for justice and liberation in South Africa —
Eleanor Roosevelt, whose vision and leadership brought forth the United Nations Human Rights Declaration in 1948–
Martin Luther King, Jr., who inspired others to rise up and declare their full human dignity in the face of longstanding oppression in this country –
Migrant Justice leaders who chose the concept of dignity for their human rights campaign and are making history for dignity now.
May we live in gratitude, mindful of this power and legacy. Amen.
Featured photo by Terry J. Allen