Mothers Fighting Poverty: Lupe Gonzalo, Immokalee, Florida

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Leading up to Mother’s Day, the NCC Poverty Initiative is sharing a series of stories lifting up, celebrating, and praying for mothers who are fighting poverty and alleviating suffering in their communities.

Prayer for Lupe: Dios, gracias for expressing your love through Lupe to farmworkers. Thank you for filling her heart with solidarity and love of her fellow workers. When times get tough, fill her with your grace and courage. Bless and strengthen her family and her work for Fair Food. In good times and bad, let her life overflow with the deepest joy that only You can give. Amen.

Recognized by: Interfaith Action of Southwest Florida

One of the farmworker leaders of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), Lupe is a powerful voice for dignified wages and working conditions in the fields of Florida. Originally from Guatemala, Lupe spent over a decade in Immokalee, FL harvesting vegetables, often under some of the harshest conditions.
Today, because of the tireless work of mothers and workers like Lupe, we are witnessing a transformation of human rights the US agricultural industry, as a twenty-year struggle gives birth to the  Fair Food Program, a unique partnership between workers, growers and corporate buyers. Just last month, the Fair Food Program was lifted up by the White House as “one of the most successful and innovative programs” in the fight to uncover — and prevent — modern day slavery.
These days, when not caring for her family, Lupe works full time educating other workers on their newly won rights, chief among them the right to work free of sexual harassment.
While the struggle continues with intransigent corporate buyers like Publix and Wendy’s, we give thanks for the remarkable leadership and strength of such mothers and luchadoras (fighters), knowing that so long as they’re leading, the historic shift underway in Florida will only continue to grow.
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