By Tex Dworkin, Global Exchange
Yesterday we shared news about an eighth grader named Jasper Perry-Anderson who delivered an online petition to Hershey with 16,000+ signatures on it encouraging the company to increase its commitment to preventing abusive child labor on cocoa farms. Along with the petition, Jasper and fellow activists also delivered more than 500 Valentines made by kids for the members of the Hershey Trust.
Hershey got another Valentine’s Day surprise, this one from the west coast the day before. On February 13th, Fifty-six students at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School School in Los Angeles, accompanied by their Principal and two teachers, delivered Valentine postcards in person to Hershey Corp. board member (and Milton Hershey School trustee) Robert F. Cavanaugh at his office in Long Beach.
Why Hershey? Hershey is not Fair Trade Certified. It’s time for Hershey to be a leader in responsible chocolate and shift toward Fair Trade cocoa!
During the Valentines delivery, students from Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School sensed Mr. Cavanaugh was not pleased to see them, but they persevered, and two students read to him letters they had written regarding Hershey and child labor. The students gave Mr. Cavanaugh the 56 Valentine “Have a Heart” postcards they had written, and Cavanaugh promised them he would take them to the Hershey corporate offices in Pennsylvania when he went there the following week.
The Principal, Connie McGhee, reports that the students were very fired up by the event and now want to write “someone in Washington” about the issue. Following up on this enthusiasm, Ms. McGhee plans to initiate a fair trade curriculum for the students this spring.
Hopefully they’ll look to our Fair Trade curriculum for their teaching needs!
Northern CA students participated as well. Elementary school students in San Francisco, including John Muir Elementary School, also participated in Hershey campaign Valentine’s activities, including decorating and writing Valentine letters asking Hershey to “Have a Heart.”
All across the country, chocolate lovers are asking Hershey to have a heart when it comes to sourcing cocoa. These Hershey actions are the result of a coordinated effort by members and supporters of Raise the Bar, Hershey!, a coalition of organizations fighting ongoing labor abuses such as child labor, forced labor and trafficking in the cocoa industry. The campaign has involved over one hundred thousand consumers thus far.
•Check out Pictures of Valentines given to Hershey on Facebook
•Fair Trade Curriculum is available for free on our website
•Sign Jasper’s petition, it’s not too late. It’s almost up to 17,000 names and counting!