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Continuing social action

Observer Viewpoint | Sunday, April 4, 2004

Friday, after the Taco Bell protest downtown, Tony Rivas ate for the first time after a seven-day hunger strike. But the end of his fast and the end of the Week of Action do not mean an end for the fight for justice and the call for Notre Dame to take action. Tony willingly sacrificed his health for one week to call attention to some of the injustices at Notre Dame. We cannot ignore the values in Catholic Social Teaching and Liberation Theology – values that talk about the dignity of work, the right to a living wage, the right to organize, and our call to love and respect all human beings. Notre Dame has a lot of great courses, programs and research about these issues – we must be willing to take action.Some of the demands of Tony’s hunger strike include:-Issue a statement guaranteeing that Notre Dame will not enter into any more contracts with Taco Bell until Taco Bell takes responsibility for the conditions from which its tomatoes come, as determined in conjunction with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Every day that the Notre Dame Athletic Department receives money from Taco Bell while failing to pressure them is a day too many. -Develop and announce a plan and timeline to ensure that, starting at the beginning of the fall 2004 semester, Fair Trade Coffee is available in both dining halls and other food service outlets on campus. We understand that Notre Dame’s current coffee provider has been planning for some time to release bulk Fair Trade coffee, but every day that we continue to not serve Fair Trade Coffee is a day that coffee farmers and their children starve. Students and organizations across the nation are aware of Tony’s hunger strike and are also organizing their own actions in solidarity. Tony’s sacrifice has also motivated the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to continue fighting for their rights because they know they have people who believe in them and their cause. Tony has started a national movement that is calling students to take action to end the exploitation of workers. As students, consumers and members of society, we have the obligation to take action and demand justice. Notre Dame is now in a position where it can set an example to other universities, that not only does it preach to and teach its students about social justice, but also actively participates in the fight for justice.

Melody GonzalezjuniorPasquerilla EastApril 2