Brown Take Adidas Down Rally

On March 19, members of Student Labor Alliance, Queer Alliance, International Socialist Organization, EmPower, Brown Divest Coal, Brown Immigrant Rights Coalition, Students for Justice in Palestine, athletes, and the Brown University community came together to demand that President Paxson cut our contract with Adidas. This unity between groups is extremely important, both to show Paxson how powerful we are together, but also to reinforce that none of us are free until all of us are free. After some invigorating chants led by Mariela Martinez, Saudi Garcia, a rugby player for Brown, spoke about the pride and commitment she has to Brown, and how important it is to her that she be able to wear athletic gear that does not betray that pride. Players put their bodies on the line for Brown (especially in rugby), and Brown University should respect and honor that commitment and the voices of athletes when considering vendors. Next Irene Rojas Caroll spoke as a member of the Queer Alliance, and emphasized the pain and inherent injustice in sweatshop labor, and how sexual harassment, queer discrimination, and violence are used to abuse and intimidate factory workers. Her words were a powerful reminder that, although this campaign is going on at Brown University, our campaigns and campaigns across the country are just one component of the larger struggle against Adidas that has been organized and led by the abused Adidas workers themselves, who are organizing and fighting Adidas in the hopes that their abuses, from busting unions to denying severance pay, are punished and remediated. Our campaign is really about making Adidas pay severance to the 2,800 workers who have been denied it, and letting the contract expire will do nothing to pressure Adidas to fulfill their contractual obligations, both to the workers and to Brown. To emphasize this, we marched together into University Hall to deliver a shirt to Paxson with one hundred factory workers printed on it (thank you Youbin!), one of 28 shirts visually representing every worker who has been denied pay. We also delivered our over 1000 petition signatures from students, faculty, and alumni, showing that the Brown University community believes that Paxson should cut the contract. Our voices, led by Stoni Tomson, filled University Hall, and we made it clear that we would continue to come back and demand justice for these workers, because there is no way that Paxson’s decision to ignore us is as strong as our commitment to these workers and their livelihoods.

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