Immigrant farmworkers lead Vermont Pride Parade

Vermont’s annual Pride Parade and Festival was led this year by immigrant farmworkers marching behind the Migrant Justice banner. And for the first time in years, the event took place without the sponsorship of Hannaford Supermarkets.

As we shared before, Hannaford ended its sponsorship of this year’s event – pulling $18,000 – after the Pride Center of Vermont urged the grocery chain to talk with farmworkers demanding Milk with Dignity. Hannaford made it clear that the company would rather end its support of the LGBTQ event than sit down with dairy workers to talk about abuses on the farms behind its store-brand milk.

The Pride Center has long been a staunch ally in the fight for farmworkers’ human rights. This year, the organization went the extra mile, showing its solidarity with the farmworker community by standing firm in its support for Milk with Dignity. As a gesture of appreciation, dairy workers have launched a fundraiser campaign for Pride, encouraging donors to make up for Hannaford’s lost sponsorship.

At the conclusion of the march, Evelia De La Cruz spoke from the festival stage:

"I’m part of the LGBTQ community and immigrant farmworker community in Vermont. We’re here to stand in solidarity with the Pride Center of Vermont because the Pride Center has stood in solidarity with dairy workers. Pride has said that they won’t take Hannaford’s money while Hannaford continues to ignore dairy workers and our rights.

For years we have invited Hannaford to join Milk with Dignity, a program that protects our rights as workers. Ben & Jerry’s has joined and thanks to their participation, many workers’ rights are being protected. But many more are still left out and workers continue to experience abuses.

I want to end with a special message for the Hannaford employees who have marched in the parade today. Farmworkers are not against you; we only want the same protections against abuse and discrimination that you have now."

Check out the photos below from this beautiful event!