Every 4th of July, the red, white and blue comes out in a big way in Wayzata, Minnesota, an affluent suburb of the Twin Cities. An annual pancake breakfast, bicycle parade, and day-long festivities are something people look forward to each year. Neighbors greet one another’s families as they gather to celebrate with their community.
Since Cargill‘s headquarters are a few miles away, many Cargill employees and executives and their families reside in the area.
Around Wayzata, Cargill is known for being a big employer, a family-owned company, and invested in the local community. What isn’t known as commonly is the darker side of Cargill experienced by our neighbors around the world. So this year, amongst the red, white and blue of Independence Day, local youth and activists with Rainforest Action Network shared a positive and important message with the Wayzata community.
Even on festive summer holidays we should remember that rainforest destruction is not taking a vacation. As community members gather on Independence Day in Wayzata, it is more important than ever to share awareness and positive messages that remind us that we all have a role to play in voicing our concerns and ending Cargill’s involvement in rainforest destruction. The company must adopt strong palm oil policies (and FAST) if we are going to preserve endangered species like the orangutan from extinction. Indigenous communities in Indonesia are being exploited by land theft and slave labor, and Cargill’s continued lack of substantive action means the company continues to be the ‘neighbor from hell’ in Indonesia.
On the 4th of July, we are reminded that abusively exploitative conditions were what led to the Declaration of Independence. The struggle for equilibrium and justice continues.
We as global citizens have a responsibility to spread awareness and empower people to be part of the solution and not to stifle the truth of shameful global realities — especially when the responsibility for these injustices can literally be laid at the feet of the person who lives next door. People who are proud of their country and their community deserve to know what these entities are doing around the world and demand something better.
Cargill, treat your neighbors in Indonesia the same way you would treat your neighbors in sweet old Wayzata!