Musicians and Photographer to Celebrate “Milk With Dignity Program”

courtesy photo
Tish Hinojosa performs with Kat Wright and Pia Zapata on September 24 at the Highland Center for the Arts to benefit the “Milk With Dignity Program.”

GREENSBORO – On September 24, well-known musicians Kat Wright, Tish Hinojosa and Pía Zapata join hands to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Migrant Justice’s “Milk With Dignity Program.” They will be performing that afternoon at the Highland Center for the Arts.

In addition to the live music featuring Pía Zapata, Kat Wright (joined by Bob Wagner on guitar and Josh Weinstein on bass), and Tish Hinojosa, there will be a photo gallery exhibition by local photographer Terry J. Allen as well as presentations from “Milk with Dignity Program” participants. The celebration will also include a dinner of Mexican food, Hill Farmstead brews, cocktails featuring Barr Hill spirits, and free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

There are approximately 1,500 immigrant dairy workers sustaining Vermont’s working landscape and providing the key labor force for the farms behind Ben & Jerry’s, Cabot Cheese and other famous Vermont dairy brands. Workers typically labor 60-80 hours per week and are systemically excluded from many worker and housing rights protections. Additionally, dairy is a notoriously difficult industry where large profits from milk products are not redistributed fairly to farmers. Due to this marginalization and industry structure, there is downward pressure on farmworkers’ wages and many experience human rights abuses.

With a formula that guarantees farmers a premium price for their milk, the “Milk with Dignity Program” improves workers’ labor and housing conditions and ensures compliance with a farmworker-authored code of conduct. The program launched five years ago when dairy workers signed an agreement with Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream to implement the program in the company’s dairy supply chain. The program now covers hundreds of workers on dozens of farms in Vermont and New York, and Migrant Justice is working to expand “Milk with Dignity” to additional supply chains.

Kat Wright lives in Burlington but has a national following in recent years with a voice that critics say is “equal parts delicate and powerful.”

Tish Hinojosa is a singer-songwriter from Austin, Texas. Hinojosa’s blend of folk, country, Latino, and pop has garnering her accolades such as a White House concert at the invitation of President and Mrs. Clinton and teaming up with artists such as Joan Baez, Booker T. Jones, Flaco Jimenez, Pete Seeger, Kris Kristofferson, Michael Martin Murphy and Dwight Yoakam.

Pía Zapata is a musician from Valparaíso, Chile. She mixes ambient and experimental sounds with hints of rock, folk, and pop, all inspired by themes both deep and quotidian, with a poetic touch filled with colors and images.

Terry J. Allen is a photographer and investigative reporter/editor who has covered local and international politics and health and science issues. Her work has appeared in the Guardian, Boston Globe, Times Argus, Harper’s, the Nation.com, Salon.com, and New Scientist. She has been an editor at Amnesty International, In These Times, and Corpwatch.com.

Proceeds will benefit the “Milk with Dignity” standards council.