Another protest held in response to Oakes Farms’ owner’s social media posts

Reporter: Taylor Smith
Published: Updated:

Alfie Oakes, the owner of Oakes Farms and Seed to Table, posted controversial statements on social media, calling Black Lives Matter protests and the coronavirus pandemic a “hoax.”

Last week, demonstrations were held at the Seed To Table Market, and now they’ve moved to Oakes Farms. Oakes’ supporters sang and created signs, reading “God Bless America.”

Meanwhile, those who oppose Oakes are calling for a boycott of his businesses and plan to continue holding protests.

Protesters continued to oppose Alfie Oakes and his businesses at Oakes Farms in Immokalee Tuesday.

Protesters claim that Oakes has built his business on exploiting farm workers in Immokalee. They are also outraged by his notion of “All Lives Matter.”

“We are the job creators,” Oakes told WINK News. “We pay our farm workers more than the other companies, and they are not helping the farm workers right now with this protest.”

Oakes still stands by his Facebook posts from last week.

“We treat everyone the same. We don’t pay anyone different money based on the color of their skin,” Oakes said. “I believe that all black lives matter, and I believe all lives matter. I don’t believe the black lives movement is really here for the right reason.”

Protest organizers upset with Oakes say they are sad to see what they saw at the Immokalee location.

“As you can see, the farmworkers are silenced,” protest organizer Juantita Martinez said. “They don’t have a voice. They are forced to be out there. They are being paid to be out there.”

Some say they can understand why the farmworkers would back up Alfie.

“They have a reason to be upset because those guys work for them,” protester Frank Cruz said. “That’s their job. They are trying to feed their family. Every person has a say.”

But protesters say Alfie was not the only reason they were at his Immokalee business Tuesday night.

“It’s not about Alfie,” Martinez said. “This is about fighting racism and fighting it for generations and generations and giving Immokalee a voice.”

Oakes’ supporters were told that they are not allowed to say anything mean to the protesters or get involved. Oakes also said that any employees of his who showed up did so on their own free will. He supplied pallets of water, which he said were for those protesting his business.

Organizers handed out masks and reminded everyone to keep their distance from each other as much as possible. They said they didn’t want to add to the increased coronavirus cases in Immokalee.

After the protesters left Oakes Farms, they continued to march.

“We need to live together,” protester Perrier Belvilus said. “We need to love each other. We come here to see some change. We are sisters and brothers.”

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