Friday, December 10, 2010

Students and Community Activists Deliver Letters to Kroger

On Thursday, December 9, five UK students, two BCTC students, and three community activists delivered a total of 186 petition signatures to the management of the Euclid Avenue Kroger grocery store. We are asking Kroger to support just wages and humane working conditions for the immigrant farmworkers of Immokalee, Florida, by agreeing to pay one cent more per pound of tomatoes and to enter a code of conduct agreement opposing the sale of products made by victims of enslavement/human trafficking.

The local manager took the signed letters from us and agreed to inform the national office of Kroger about our visit.

In a local campaign initiated by the UK Socialist Student Union, 186 signatures were gathered in a single week at a variety of locations, including at the University of Kentucky Student Center, the Bluegrass Community and Technical College cafeteria, the Lexington Catholic Newman Center, and local meetings of the Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice and of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.

This is just one step in an ongoing campaign demanding that the supermarket industry support "fair food" and negotiate with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) farmworkers in Florida. Look for more organizing on this issue by the SSU and other local activist groups in the spring, and please contact us if you'd like to be involved.

KFTC has posted a nice blog post about the action:
(Photo credit: Ondine)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Delivering Letters to Kroger for Farmworker Justice

The U.K. SSU has now collected over 100 signatures on a letter asking Kroger to pay one cent more per pound of tomatoes and to enter a code of conduct agreement, to improve the wages and working conditions of immigrant farmworkers in Florida.

On Thursday, December 9, at 12:10 pm, we will be assembling on the public sidewalk at 722 Euclid Avenue to debrief and then to deliver the signed letters to the management of the Euclid Avenue Kroger. All are welcome to join us in peacefully making known our concerns, as customers of Kroger, about the human rights of Florida farmworkers.

For more information, contact or check the Facebook event:!/event.php?eid=113124448757361.

If you have not yet signed the letter to Kroger, please sign the online version by Thursday:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

72 signatures so far, and more rolling in!

UK SSU gathered 60 signatures tabling on campus on Tuesday, on the letter to the management of Kroger.

People were really receptive. This is a cause that it is hard not to care about, considering that conditions for these Florida farmworkers are so bad that two of the employers have even been imprisoned for beating and enslaving workers.

One student mentioned that she felt a personal connection to the issue because she had a family member who was a tomato farmer. Another student--yes, we asked her to sign up for the e-mail list, and she did--said in response to our spiel about exploited workers, "Figures. Capitalism [is the problem]!"

Tonight I briefed the board of the Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice ( about the issue, at their monthly meeting. They were happy to sign the letter and will help us to get more signatures.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tabling Tuesday for Farmworker Justice

The UK SSU will be tabling on the first floor of the UK Student Center on Tuesday (11/27), from 10am to 2pm. We'll be near the Student Government office.

Please stop by to sign a letter to the management of Kroger. We are collecting signatures asking Kroger to agree to pay one cent more per pound of tomatoes, as part of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' campaign for a living wage and better conditions for Florida farmworkers.

Please contact me,, if you'd like to help table.

Here is the letter to Kroger we'll be gathering signatures on:
More information about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers:

Before the end of the semester, we'll get a group together to deliver letters and petition signatures in person to the management of the Euclid Avenue Kroger, one of the busiest Kroger grocery stores in the nation. As always, stay tuned for updates.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Local student activist at risk of deportation; sign the petition!

A student at BCTC who has been involved in Dream Act activism is currently at risk of deportation. Read her story and take action at:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Expanding the Blog

Hi all! We're updating and expanding the blog, so stay tuned. Previously we were just the U.K. Socialist Student Union blog, but now that the SSU has a new branch over at Bluegrass Community and Technical College, we'll be sharing the blog between the UK and BCTC SSUs.

We hope to use this blog as a tool to unite other socialist students and socialist student groups around the state.

At a UK SSU meeting a couple of weeks ago, we decided we'd like to try to a hold a meeting early next semester, before the end of January, to discuss involving other socialist student organizations around the state in forming a Kentucky Socialist Student Union.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Next UK SSU meeting, Thurs (Nov. 18), 5pm

Hi all,

We're quickly trying to pull together another UK Socialist Student Union meeting for this Thursday (tomorrow, Nov. 18) at 5pm at Coffea coffeeshop (385 Rose St., Lexington). So sorry for the short notice; please help spread the word. As always, all are welcome.

Main agenda items:
*campaign for farmworker justice w/ regard to Kroger
*planning at least one more forum or movie night before the end of the semester
*collaboration with BCTC SSU and building connections to socialist student activists around the state

It will be a fun, short meeting. :) Hope to see you then.

In Solidarity,
Joan Braune

Friday, November 5, 2010

Next Meeting, Wednesday Nov. 10

Hi all! The next meeting of the UK Socialist Student Union will be Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 5pm at Common Grounds Coffee House (343 E. High St., Lexington). All are welcome.

Topics on the agenda include:

*School of the Americas protest (
*Migrant farm workers' campaign for justice against Kroger (See below)
*Continued solidarity/collaboration with new BCTC Socialist Student Union
*Possible upcoming events: for Dream Act (immigrant students' rights), against Islamophobia
*Other event ideas...Film screening?
*Report-back on Marx in Soho event (which was a huge success!)

Hope to see you Wednesday!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

CIW and Euclid Kroger Ideas

Hey everyone!  This is a repost of my overview of the SSU's options concerning the CIW and the Euclid Kroger, sent out from the listserv.

The CIW's current campaign is focused on the major grocery chains across the company.  After having major successes with various restaurant chains (most notably McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Burger King), the CIW shifted their focus.  Since then, 6 companies have joined (including Good Foods).  Now they're focusing on other major retailers, including Kroger.
This presents an opportunity to SSU.  One of the primary actions on the CIW website is printing out a letter and giving it to the manager.  This, I presume, is aimed to create consumer pressure on store-level managers, agitating them enough to bring this up with regional managers, etc.  Sort of like climbing the pyramid.  Here's the link to the printable letter:
Other options include printing off a postcard and mailing it to Kroger HQ.  We could also rally/protest/table outside a Kroger location. However, I think our best option is obtaining an educational DVD and screening it, and then presenting either post cards or manager letters at the movie presentation.
Here's the action page on the CIW website:

Friday, October 15, 2010

A specter is haunting Lexington...

On Tuesday (Oct. 19), the UK and BCTC Socialist Student Unions will be co-hosting a performance of Howard Zinn's play Marx in Soho at Natasha's Bistro.

Tuesday, Oct. 19
8 pm
Natasha's Bistro (112 Esplanade, Lexington KY)

It's a great play, written, directed, and acted by awesome people. And it's about the ghost of Karl Marx, who refuses to stay dead. And it benefits student activism. What's not to love?

Stick around, if you can...after the performance, the SSU will lead a discussion about the play and about the relevance of Marx's ideas for today.

Come to support local student activists! Proceeds from the evening's performance will help to fund future Socialist Student Union activities, including helping to send some students to the upcoming School of the Americas protest ( in Georgia in November, to meet with activists from around the country and speak out against torture and massacres in Latin America.

Reservations: 859-259-2754 or

Please help spread the word about this event! It's going to be awesome.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Next Meeting

Wednesday (Oct. 6), 5:00 pm
Common Grounds Coffee House
343 E. High St.

All are welcome!

For more info, contact or visit our Facebook group, "U.K. Socialist Student Union."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Film Screening, "Capitalism: A Love Story"

Our first meeting of the semester was productive and fun, with eight people in attendance, including two students from BCTC community college, which has now started its own BCTC Socialist Student Union; we're very excited about collaborating with them.

Our next event, to which all are welcome, will be a film screening of Michael Moore's documentary Capitalism: A Love Story,

Monday, Sept. 20
7 pm
UK Classroom Building, Room 246

The film offers a lively and thought-provoking exploration of the causes of the current economic recession, home foreclosures, the bank bailouts, and the overall problem of capitalism.

All are welcome, and there will be free snacks (of the potato chips and cookies sort)! Please spread the word. The event is co-sponsored by the UK SSU and the BCTC SSU.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Upcoming Meeting (Thursday, Sept. 2, 6pm)

Our next U.K. Socialist Student Union planning meeting will be this coming Thursday (September 2) at 6pm at Common Ground Coffeehouse (343 E. High Street). All are welcome.

Probably agenda topics include:

*What's next for our speakers' series or other possible upcoming SSU events, including a possible SSU conference on radical pedagogy and economic justice for students and workers at universities

*How we might be able to collaborate with a new socialist and/or left-wing student group that is forming at BCTC (Bluegrass Community Technical College). Someone from the BCTC group will probably be at the meeting to brief us or discuss how we might be able to help and/or work together.

*How we might be able to work together with new Lexington-based group United Front Kentucky

*How to get the word out about SSU and get more people involved

*Other ideas, announcements of upcoming events, etc.

Please spread the word! You can also visit our Facebook group, "U.K. Socialist Student Union," or e-mail Joan at for more info.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Rethink Afghanistan

Our first major event of the spring 2010 semester, a film screening of Rethink Afghanistan, was co-sponsored with the UK Muslim Student Association and Peace Action Task Force of CKCPJ (Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice). Around fifty people were present to watch the film and discuss the film's assessment of the perils of ongoing U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. Thanks to all who helped make the event a success!

More events soon!

Keeping updated: This blog is not updated as often as one would like. To receive more regular updates on the U.K. Socialist Student Union, please contact Joan Braune at to get more info, or join our Facebook group, "U.K. Socialist Student Union."