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May 29, 2020
Alexandra Magearu, an IRTF volunteer researcher, will describe current conditions in ICE detention facilities, focusing on Ohio. She will help us to review what action steps have been taken to release immigrant detainees and brainstorm strategies to pressure ICE and local governments. Joining Alexandra will be Lynn Tramonte, director of Ohio Immigrant Alliance. Lynn is active organizing statewide to get immigrant detainees released, especially from the Morrow County Jail.
June 3, 2020 to June 6, 2020
Don't miss our virtual summit! Our keynote Shirley Sherrod, a land justice advocate who co-founded the first community land trust in the U.S., will give her address on Wednesday night. But there's a lot more Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Register (free) to get updates and workshop selections. See https://equalexchange.coop/summit . Why the summit? The strength and future of alternative trade organizations (ATOs) like Equal Exchange rests on building a broader network of food justice advocates and bringing them more deeply into our organization to foster real and direct solidarity with our small farmer partners and our growing co-operative network. We are forging the path as we walk it. Your participation in our June summit is a vital piece of this vision.
May 12, 2020 to June 4, 2020
Fair trade is about more than just paying a fair wage. It means that trading partnerships are based on reciprocal benefits and mutual respect. Each year, IRTF provides tens of thousands of dollars in much needed income to fair trade cooperatives in Mexico, Central America, and Colombia. Help us build this solidarity economy together. Get your fair trade coffee, chocolate, baking cocoa, and tea from IRTF this spring! Pick-up or home delivery!
May 26, 2020
Because she is an outspoken defender of the environment and territorial rights in Putumayo (Amazon Basin), Jani Rita Silva has been subjected to intimidation, surveillance and death threats. In March, the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (CIPJ) reported that an anonymous informant told them of a plan to assassinate her. After an investigative visit to the Amazon Pearl Peasant Reserve Zone earlier this month (May 2020), representatives of CIJP reported that the military is conducting illegal surveillance on the environmental defender (as well as against staff of CIJP). Jani Rita Silva is the legal representative of the Association for the Integral and Sustainable Development of the Amazon Pearl (ADISPA). As such, she has denounced the oil extraction operations of the multinational company Amerisur, whose partners include Houston-based Occidental Petroleum.
May 25, 2020
The militarization of drug eradication in Colombia is resulting in violence and death. The Colombian government is feeling the pressure from Washington, so they're deploying their army onto coca plantations where they are facing resistance from campesinos. Since March, the Colombian army has been conducting forced eradication operations in the Catatumbo region of Norte de Santander Department. On May 18 they opened fire on unarmed rural workers who were protesting these activities, killing Emerito Digno Buenida Martínez, age 44, and injuring Miguel Hernández León, Juan José Orozco, and Jimmy Alberto González. The murder of Emerito Buendía Martínez comes just weeks after Colombian security forces (also in the Catatumbo region) killed Alejandro Carvajal, age 20, in his home on March 26. Alejandro was the nephew of a well-known community leader and had been working in crop substitution programs to replace illegal crops with traditional alternatives. We urge that the government of Colombia put an immediate end to forced crop eradication and allow the voluntary substitution program to proceed according to the Peace Accords of 2016.
May 24, 2020
Unknown individuals raided and vandalized the house of human rights lawyer Esteban Emanuel Celada Flores while he was at work. This is the third raid on his home in less than five months. Esteban Celada has filed at least six complaints before the Public Ministry for multiple attacks against him since 2016. While filing complaints he has experienced intimidating attitudes from members of the Public Ministry. The intimidating content as well as the continuous and systemic nature of the attacks have left a harmful psychological impact on Esteban Celada. No advances have been made on the investigations, nor have protection measures been implemented to safeguard his life and integrity. When he filed a complaint with the the Public Ministry's Crime Unit against Human Rights Activists of this recent incident (April 22), he was told that due to COVID-19 the Unit was lacking the resources to immediately assess the crime scene.
May 23, 2020
The body of Edwin Noel Flores Sacaza, a young Garífuna man, was discovered on the afternoon of May 1 inside a container on the property of the Ensenada thermoelectric plant, where he worked as a security guard. Residents of Sambo Creek are awaiting autopsy reports that might reveal the cause of death and clarify how Edwin ended up inside the container, where he may have suffocated to death. There are many doubts among the members of the community about what happened, how the investigations will be carried out, and how justice will be administered. Concerns are intensified because of the increase of killings of Garífuna people over the past year, especially of women Garífuna leaders of territorial defense. The thermoelectric plant itself is also cause for concern. Garífuna communities in the region face health risks from being exposed to plant emissions from Bunker C (Fuel #6), banned in several countries because it is considered highly toxic.
May 20, 2020
The State of Ohio needs to shut down the Morrow County Jail. The jail is completely infected with COVID-19, and Sheriff Hinton has mismanaged both preparation and response. In a county that is 99% white, the inmates at the county jail are 76% immigrants. And at least 70% of them are now infected with COVID-19. No one in Morrow County Jail, including its staff, deserve the potential death sentence they are being handed by keeping the jail open. Sign the petition here: https://bit.ly/ShutMorrowPetition.
May 15, 2020
From Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction: There are at least 125 inmates with coronavirus in Ohio jails and 4,437 in the state’s prisons. Of the 78 inmates in the Morrow County Jail, 50 contracted coronavirus. It’s the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in any jail in Ohio. From the testimony of three Morrow inmates (ICE detainees) before US District Court Judge Sarah Morrison in Columbus on May 11: They reported that they sleep in such cramped quarters that they can reach out and touch four other beds. One testified that despite being in the area of the jail that houses coronavirus patients for 16 days, no jail employee had cleaned the area. Detainees get clean clothes every three or four days. Corrections officers take their temperatures, not nurses, and the thermometers used are more than three years beyond their expiration dates.
May 14, 2020
“This infection is on ICE’s hands,” said Elizabeth Bonham, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio. Oscar Lopez Acosta was originally from San Francisco de La Paz, a small municipality about 100 miles northeast of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. April 24: ICE released Oscar Lopez from Morrow County Jail because he and other detainees were experiencing high fever. He returned to his family in Dayton. On May 3, he tested positive for COVID-19. On May 4, ICE confirmed that 47 people in its custody at Morrow County had tested positive. On May 10, Oscar López died from complications from the coronavirus after being released from the hospital, the local coroner’s officer confirmed. Ohio Immigrant Visitation has set up a fundraiser for the family of Oscar Lopez Acosta. They need to cover the cost of his cremation, rent, and other living expenses as well as medical bills. Donate at www.paypal.me/ohioimmigrantvisits