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July 28, 2020 to August 17, 2020: Urgent Action: Demand a Search for Disappeared Garífuna Leaders in Honduras!
all day

See the letter sent on July 30 by US House leaders to Secretary of State Pompeo.

https://www.irtfcleveland.org/news/articles/reps-sires-meeks-and-12-colleagues-denounce-rights-violations-against-gar%C3%ADfuna

You can email or call you Congressional reps and senators, urging them to contact the State Department and echo the call that is in that letter of July 30. A script is pasted below.  

Click here to send your message now. 

Find your congressperson and senators at https://www.house.gov/ and  https://www.senate.gov/

If you have trouble with calls to their D.C. offices because no one is there, you can try their home district offices (the information for those should be on their information page). 

In addition to your phone calls and emails, you can also send a letter directly to the government of Honduras when you click here 

Thank you for taking this urgent action!! 

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Dear Representative ___/Senator____:

As your constituent, I am asking you to call the State Department and U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras about the recent abduction and forced disappearance of four members of the Garifuna community of Triunfo de la Cruz: Snider Centeno, Aparicio Mejía García, Joel Martínez Álvarez, and Alber Sentana Thomas, along with one other man.   

I am aware that some US House members ( including the chair of House Foreign Affairs, and  chair and vice-chair of the  Western Hemisphere Subcommittee ) have already contacted Secretary of State Pompeo. We  need you to echo their urgent call to pressure the Honduran government to find these men and to end the pattern of impunity for human rights in their country. I am connected with the InterReligious Task Force in Cleveland, together with the Honduras Solidarity Network, which has already alerted Honduran officials about the need to immediately investigate this incident and return these men to their communities unharmed, but too much time has passed  without result, and I am gravely concerned about their safety.

On the morning of Saturday, July 18 at approximately 6 am, these four men were kidnapped and disappeared by a group of men wearing bullet proof vests and believed to be police. The men's vests had police investigative unit insignia (DPI by its Spanish acronym) on them, although the men arrived in unmarked cars. 

Snider Centeno is the president of the elected community council in Triunfo de la Cruz. He and his community won a case heard in the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in 2015 against the Honduran state for property rights violations and failure to consult the Afro-indigenous community about tourism developments on their land. However, the Honduran state has not respected the ruling and continues to encroach on Garifuna ancestral lands, to which the Garifuna have title, for the purpose of developing beachfront properties for tourists, including the lands belonging to Triunfo de la Cruz. The community has continued to vocally oppose the Honduran state’s illegal allocation of their lands to development corporations without consultation of the community. We are concerned that the disappearance of this Garifuna leader is in retaliation for this opposition.

Snider Centeno, Aparicio Mejía García and Joel Martínez Álvarez are members of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), the Garífuna organization working to protect Garífuna economic, social and cultural rights. OFRANEH has been involved in legal suits and non-violent protests against the Honduran state for its violation of Garifuna rights. We believe they may also have been disappeared because of their membership in OFRANEH. 

Since the kidnappings, Honduran police have harassed the communities protesting the disappearances and in Triunfo de la Cruz at least one vehicle with unidentified armed men was seen last night driving circulating in town which is an act of intimidation. 

On May 7, 2020, the State Department certified Honduras on its efforts to providing effective and accountable law enforcement and security for its citizens among other human rights-related issues. I have serious doubts about these efforts. This particular incident, one among many other attacks, kidnappings, and assassinations carried out against civilians  by Honduran security forces, highlights the continuing insecurity faced by individuals expressing opposition to the government and land defenders in Honduras.

Please communicate with utmost urgency to the State Department and Embassy that they must urge Honduran officials to find these men and return them to their community. Time is of the essence—many of those who “disappear” in Honduras are later found dead.

Sincerely, 

 Click here to send your message now. 

August 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020: Support the solidarity economy. Fair Trade food products available from IRTF.
Mon-Thu 9-4 or by other arrangement
IRTF, 3606 Bridge Ave., Cleveland OH 44113

 (See product list and pricing below. Pick-up or home delivery.)

Please share the Facebook event for this fair trade sale . 

Support the solidarity economy. Fair Trade food products available from IRTF.

Support the solidarity economy. Get your fair trade coffee, chocolate, baking cocoa, and tea from IRTF this spring! Pick-up or home delivery!

Each year, IRTF provides tens of thousands of dollars in much needed income to fair trade cooperatives in Mexico, Central America, and Colombia. For more than three decades, IRTF has examined and challenged the current system of global capitalism dominated by big corporations, which exploits people and the planet. We are linked across the globe with small growers and producers—as well as authentic fair trade companies and nonprofits—in building an economy based on solidarity, putting people over profits. Another world is both possible and necessary; let’s build it together. Support authentic fair trade.

Fair trade is about more than just paying a fair wage. It means that trading partnerships are based on reciprocal benefits and mutual respect; that prices paid to producers reflect the work they do; that workers have the right to organize; that national health, safety, and wage laws are enforced; and that products are environmentally sustainable and conserve natural resources. In all, there are nine principles of fair trade. Fair price is only one of them. Read the Principles of Fair Trade here.

Read more at the bottom of this post about 1- fair trade certification, 2- some differences between fair trade and ethical trade/direct trade, and 3- how to shop fair trade in Ohio. Thank you for supporting the solidarity economy.

 

Equal Exchange and IRTF = Partners in Fair Trade

Why Equal Exchange?

Equal Exchange was founded in 1986 as a 100% fair trade worker-owned cooperative. Many other big commercial coffee roasters or retailers are involved in fair trade simply as a niche item for just one of their many product lines; and that’s as far as it goes.  For companies who are fully committed to fair trade, like Equal Exchange (the first fair trade coffee company in the US) it’s about transforming the food system. Price is only a part of it. It is mostly about relationship and mutual commitment to each other. Look for products that are 100% fair trade. If only 5-10% of a company’s product line is fair trade, you should question their commitment to justice for the workers who grow, produce, and process the product.

Read about Equal Exchange’s farmer partners across the globe here.

 

 

PURCHASE EQUAL EXCHANGE FAIR TRADE PRODUCTS from IRTF this spring.

To make a purchase, email your order to OhioFairTrade@irtfcleveland.org. Arrange for pick-up or home-delivery. Pay upon pick-up or delivery. Details at the bottom of this product list.

 

 

CHOCOLATE

Vegan Chocolate bars (listed in order of cacao %) $4 each

92% Total Eclipse

88% Extreme Dark

80% Panama Dark

67% Mint Crunch

65% Orange Infused

55% Lemon Ginger with Black Pepper

55% Toasted Almond

55% Coconut Milk

 

Milk Chocolate bars $4 each

43% Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt

 

Mini Chocolates $5

pack of 25 minis (milk or dark)

 

Chocolate Chips $5

10oz bag of semi-sweet

 

Baking cocoa $7

8oz can of 100% cacao (cocoa powder) from the Dominican Republic

 

Hot cocoa mix $7

12 oz can

regular – with non-fat milk powder and pure cane sugar

spicy – enhanced with vanilla, cayenne, cinnamon

 

FAIR FOODS

Olive Oil $15

17oz bottle, produced by Al Zawyeh cooperative on the West Bank

 

Dried Mango $6

5oz bag, produced by Gebana Afrique, an association of 17 rural cooperatives in Burkina Faso

 

TEA

$5 (box of 20 tea bags—all organic)

Tea that is grown by small-scale farmers is revolutionary in an industry dominated by large plantations. Equal Exchange partners with small growers in India, South Africa and Sri Lanka to build this alternative supply chain.

 

Black Tea

Black, Chai, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Decaf English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast

 

Green Tea

Green, Green with  Ginger, Jasmine Green, Mint Green

 

Herbal – all are caffeine free

Chamomile, Ginger, Peppermint, Rooibos (red bush), Rooibos Chai, Vanilla Rooibos

 

COFFEE

$9 – 12oz package of ground or whole bean

$10 – 12oz package of organic decaf

$52 – 5lb bag of whole bean (available: Breakfast Blend or French Roast)

 

Coffees listed in order of light roast to dark:

Toffee Caramel (light)

Café Salvador (light)

Breakfast Blend (organic) (med)

Love Buzz (organic) (med)

French Roast (organic) (dark)

 

 

COFFEE SERVERS

Stainless steel coffee server (thermos/carafe). $33

Sup-R-Serv by Update International. This stainless steel double walled carafe with an unbreakable liner is vacuum sealed, so it will keep liquids hot or cold for hours. Press button top for easy pouring. 64 oz capacity

 

Glass coffee carafe. $12

Designed for a Bunn burner coffee maker. Branded with Equal Exchange: Small Farmer, Big Change. This is a perfect gift for the kitchen at your place of worship or employment or school. Produced by Duran Schott glass company in Munich, Germany. 12-cup capacity.

 

 

BOOKS

The History of Authentic Fair Trade, by Phyllis Robinson and Nicholas Reid. Illustrations by Vendela Larsson. $7

Graphic novel style. Paperback. 40 pages

 

A Cafecito Story, by Julia Alvarez . Illustrations are woodcuts by Belkis Ramírez. $14

Hardback. 58 pages.

Based on her experience trying to reclaim a small coffee farm in her native Dominican Republic, A Cafecito Story is a poetic, modern fable about human beings at their best. The challenge of producing coffee is a remarkable test of our ability to live more sustainably, caring for the land, growers, and consumers in an enlightened and just way. Written with Julia Alvarez's deft touch, this is a story that stimulates while it comforts, waking the mind and warming the soul like the first cup of morning coffee. Indeed, this story is best read with a strong cup of organic, shade-grown, fresh-brewed coffee.

 

PICK-UP or HOME DELIVERY

Pick up your order at IRTF, Monday-Thursday, 9am-4pm, or by other appointment. Please confirm your pick-up time before you show up (because the building is generally locked). Payment: cash, check, credit card.

Home delivery: available within a few miles of the office. Inquire.

 

IRTF is located on the campus of St Patrick Church, 3606 Bridge Ave, Cleveland 44113, at the corner of  W. 38th St. Just one block north of Lorain Ave. Parking right in front of the building. Questions? Call 216.961.0003 M-Th, 9-4.

 

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EDUCATION CORNER

Learn more about fair trade.

1- Fair Trade Standards & Certification

2- Differences between Fair Trade and Ethical/Direct Trade

3- How to Shop Fair Trade in Ohio

 

 

1- FAIR TRADE STANDARDS & CERTIFICATION

Standards and Certification: Agricultural Products v. Handmade Products

There are two separate sets of standards. Why? Because an agricultural product (a banana, a coffee bean, a cocoa bean, etc.) is easier to trace from where it was produced to where it was processed to where it ended up on your grocer’s shelf. Handmade products have component parts (cotton, thread, dyes, metals, zippers) that are harder to trace.

 

Agricultural Products

Here is a list of standards to certify that the product is fair trade: http://fairtradeamerica.org/Resources%20Library/Standards

If an agricultural product is truly fair trade, it will ,likely carry a certification label: https://fairworldproject.org/validation-programs/ . This means they open their agricultural fields and processing centers to independent third party inspectors who investigate and make a report and recommendation to the certifying agency: Fair Trade Labeling Organization (FLO), Fair Trade USA, or IMO/Fair for Life.

If an agricultural product claims to be fair trade and does not have certification, you would need to investigate them. You could start by asking the folks at FairTradeAmerica.org if they know anything about the company or their claims of being fair trade.

 

Handmade Products

There is no certification for handmade products (with few exceptions, such as Maggie’s Organics based in Michigan). However, most fair trade resale operations in the US belong to the Fair Trade Federation. The Fair Trade Federation makes sure that the products they sell meet fair trade standards (i.e., the Principles of Fair Trade). If the resale operation does not belong to the Fair Trade Federation, you need to investigate them individually with a set of questions to vet them to see if they are legitimately fair trade. Contact OhioFairTrade@irtfcleveland.org  if you need a set of those questions.

 

 

2- DIFFERENCES BETWEEN FAIR TRADE & ETHICAL/DIRECT TRADE

Consumers can educate themselves about the benefits of fair trade and the benefits of other labeling systems. Here are some examples: Ethical Trade, Direct Trade, Whole Trade, Rainforest Alliance. Consumers should compare and contrast the claims of each of the labeling systems.

Direct Trade is one system that has gained popularity over the past several years. Direct Trade claims that they benefit farmers more than Fair Trade does because they know the farmer and their family, they visit, they’ve met the workers, etc.

Here is a criticism of Direct Trade: Direct Trade is a relationship between a distributor in the US (say, a coffee roaster) and a farmer in Latin America who has a privately-owned coffee plantation. This is significant. Even if the coffee roaster in the US is paying the farmer more than they were getting in the past—and even if they’re paying more than the fair trade price—the Direct Trade system is not doing anything to change the basic dominant/subordinate relationship between the farmer (plantation owner) and their workers. Direct Traders say things like, “But the farmworkers are paid more because we pay the farmers more and they pass that along in increased wages to their workers.” Maybe. Maybe not. It’s still up to the discretion of the farmer who is the plantation owner, and, however nice a person they might be, has control over the wages and working conditions of the workers on the plantation.

Authentic fair trade is different. Authentic fair trade started as a way to support farmer-owned cooperatives and give them a way into the market. A cooperative is a different model of ownership. It is not the dominant/subordinate relationship of the private owner/workers. A cooperative is a jointly-owned business. It might have 10 farmer-owners, it might have 500 in a cooperative of producers.  The significant thing about the cooperative is that it is democratically run. The members elect their leadership; they have a say-so in their working hours and conditions; they have a say-so in how much each farmer gets paid and how to spend the “social premium.” (The social premium is an amount, usually around 15-cents per pound, paid by buyers like Equal Exchange to the farm cooperative above the agreed upon price for the coffee beans. The farmer-owners of the cooperative decide collectively how to spend the extra social premium on improvements in their community, like housing, education, nutrition, gender equity programs, etc.)

Besides the democratic nature of the cooperative, there are many other social, economic, and political benefits to having cooperatives in a country. For instance, right now in Central America, campesinos are facing huge threats of forced displacement and environmental destruction because of large private corporations and their conspirators in corrupt governments who prefer catering to corporate greed over the well-being of the people. Historically, cooperatives have led social movements for land justice, environmental justice, and democracy and in their countries.

 

Here is a good example from Guatemala: In 2006, the government of Guatemala was getting ready to ratify the US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Small farmers knew this would be bad for them and good for multinational food corporations. How did they show their disapproval? The farmers—mostly members of cooperatives across the country—moved onto large government tracts of land and occupied them in protest. They shut down major highways. They encircled the Congress building. They kept the protest movement alive and showed that the majority of the people in Guatemala were against this free trade scheme. Did they prevail? No. The government went ahead and followed pressure from the US to enter into CAFTA. But if it weren’t for the strong cooperative movement, this strong showing of disapproval—and the international solidarity it generated—would not have happened.

 

Another example from Colombia in 2019:  People in Colombia (both in the cities and in the rural zones) have been dissatisfied with their government’s slow pace of implementing the 2016 Peace Accords that were meant to end 50 years of civil war in their country. In November and December of 2019, large scale protests were organized to pressure their president to do much more to promote and protect the peace process, protect the environment, and protect human rights. Especially in the rural areas, farmer-owned cooperatives and farm unions were instrumental in organizing masses of people to join these protests. Over 200,000 marched the first day in Bogotá. Broad based coalitions came together promoting a variety of justice issues. One issue key to people in the rural areas is the provision in the Peace Accords to enroll farmers in a program to substitute illegal crops (i.e., coca grown for cocaine) with legal ones (food products).  Many of the farmers who are leading this initiative in their communities are being assassinated. Why? Because the criminal groups that make money from the drug trade don’t want the farmers to stop growing coca, the main ingredient for cocaine. Farmers are demanding more protection from their government. The cooperative movement across Colombia (the land mass in Colombia is mostly countryside) is vital to the broader social movement for justice and peace in Colombia.

In sum: When companies sell fair trade products that are not produced by farmer-owned cooperatives but are produced by privately-owned farms instead, they are weakening the cooperative model. This is a detriment to both economic justice and to political justice.  Cooperatives have historically played significant roles in broader justice movements in their countries. Fewer cooperatives means less economic justice and fewer civil/political rights.

 

3- HOW TO SHOP FAIR TRADE IN OHIO

A- See this link on OhioFairTrade.com:

https://ohiofairtrade.com/shop-fair-trade/how-to-shop-fair-trade/

 

B- See this link for stores in Ohio that sells products, all of which are fair trade products

https://ohiofairtrade.com/shop-fair-trade/ohio-fair-trade-stores/

 

C- See this link for stores in Ohio (mostly grocery) that sell products that are fair trade or contain fair trade ingredients

https://ohiofairtrade.com/shop-fair-trade/companies-that-use-fair-trade-ingredients/

 

D- If there is a particular product you are looking for, you can go to FairTradeCertified.org and research it and ask the company if their product is available in your area.

 

Learn more about fair trade at www.OhioFairTrade.com

 

August 11, 2020: EJ Series: Red New Deal: Centering Afro-Indigenous Perspectives on Environmental Caretaking
6 -7 pm EST
Stay tuned for all registration information!

We would like to invite you to a three-part webinar series in August that will delve into topics regarding the intersections of environmental justice, racism, and classism. These webinars will discuss work being done by progressive people and organizations internationally, nationally, as well as locally in Cleveland. We are offering this program to educate people on how the unification of these progressive movements are critical in creating a Green New Deal that works for all people.


Webinars will launch on:

  • Tuesday August 4 @ 6 pm EST
  • Tuesday August 11 @ 6 pm EST
  • Tuesday August 18 @ 6 pm EST

REGISTER HERE

Tuesday, August 11th at 6:00 PM: Red New Deal: Centering Afro-Indigenous Perspectives on Environmental Caretaking

Since time immemorial Indigenous peoples around the world have held a vast array of experiences and deep knowledge of the land, and its relationship to all of the natural world. Here on Turtle Island despite diverse cultural perspectives and protocols, we collectively understand that the answers lie upon and within the land. With increasing conversations surrounding the responsibility of environmental protection and restoration, including policy change and the Green New Deal, we must center Indigenous voices in the conversation, as we are the stewards of the land.

PARTICIPANTS INCLUDE:

Robert Rice (African-American, Saponi, Catawba, Tuscarora - Bear Clan) is a student and community organizer living in Kahyonha:ke (Cleveland, Ohio). Robert has experience in organizing and mobilizing on behalf of Indigenous and Black liberation, and environmental awareness issues, including assisting in fundraisers for Standing Rock water protector camps. He is currently pursuing a degree in Cultural Anthropology/History, with a focus on African and Native American history. He seeks to utilize the education and skills he acquires to help revitalize, and maintain, cultural heritage within his own Indigenous community and abroad to promote decolonization and sovereignty. He also hopes to steadily engage this work by continuing to contribute to cultural and social building in the immediate community. 

Dr. Sue Helper

 IRTF YOUNG NETWORK 6-7 PM EST OPAWL BUILDINGAAP Wssolidarity lidarity collective'

August 12, 2020: Food Action Forum - Make Our Food System Fair!
7-8pm
Zoom meeting via internet

 

Wednesdays: Aug 12, Sep 9, Oct 14 – Please join us!

Wed., Aug 12, 7-8pm: info and free registration here

 info: organizing@equalexchange.coop 

What is the Food Action Forum? (aka Citizen-Consumer Food Movement)

This invitation to join the Food Action Forum comes from Equal Exchange, an Alternative Trade Organization (ATO) and the first fair trade coffee company in the US, which is working to build a democratic brand that connects small farmers in the Global South to consumers in the Global North. IRTF in Cleveland first introduced NE Ohioans to Equal Exchange coffee in the mid-1990s. Several faith congregations began selling Equal Exchange as an act of solidarity and justice. Heinen’s became the first grocer chain to sell Equal Exchange in all its stores in the US. IRTF and Equal Exchange have been close partners and friends ever since.  

 

What is this monthly meeting?

Food Action Forum meetings (monthly) allow all of us to connect, build community, and have space to push our campaigns forward and engage in actions out there in your communities. In today’s overwhelmingly digital world we want to find ways to create meaningful and deep connections with this community, connections that are two-way, connections that are active, not passive. We look forward to connecting, join us!

We’re working across geography and time zones to build our ATO* and a more vital movement for food justice. We look forward to connecting with you. Join us!

For any questions, please reach out to organizing@equalexchange.coop --Frankie,  Danielle, Em

tel 508 427 5203

 

*What are ATOs? Alternative Trade Organizations (ATOs) are at risk

Equal Exchange was founded in 1986 as an alternative trade organization (ATO) with the mission of connecting US consumers and small marginalized farmers from the global south from countries like Nicaragua, Peru, or India. Alternative trade organizations have foundational influence in the broader fair trade movement but have become isolated from even their most natural allies including coops, citizen movements, community economic organizations, unions, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  This isolation has caused ATOs to not only be under grave threat for the future but at risk of not surviving the market in the next ten to fifteen years.

 

Fair-Washing: Fair Trade is being stripped of its original meaning

The Fair Trade idea may have won successes in the last 10 years, but those successes have been limited. And in the process of gaining recognition and support, control has been wrested from small farmers and turned into a marketing attribute at the service of northern companies; it has been commodified and stripped of all real meaning. While some northern ATOs are still here and hundreds of farmer groups in the Global South hang on, "Fair Trade” as envisioned 30 years ago, is no longer recognizable.

 

Corporate Control: Our food system is being controlled by large corporations

In the wider food system, corporations control everything from seeds to supply and prices, while relentlessly chipping away at the regulations that inform and protect consumers. They fight feverishly to prevent us from knowing if GMOs are present in our food. They continue to promote production methods that hasten the warming of the planet—a present-day threat to millions of small farmers and others around the world. And, corporations count on consumers remaining unorganized to maintain the status quo.   

 

Consumers Can Make a Huge Difference: We need active consumer involvement

We now know that we cannot possibly succeed in our goal to transform the food system without the active, deep and committed participation of citizen-consumers like you. An authentic Fair Trade system requires democratic organizing of producers in the South, worker democracy for businesses in the North, and active consumer involvement in the North. 

What Are We Building?

We are taking a powerful, new step in building a democratic brand that connects small farmers in the South to consumers in the North. We believe that in order to be successful in realizing the original Fair Trade vision, we need to deepen involvement and participation in our model. In doing this, we go back to the best that Alternative Trade has always been about: innovation, global solidarity, social imagining and learning, and economic justice. This will be a long, slow process and a great challenge. We need your buying support, your investing support, and your political support. 

Please join us in building this dream. We invite you to help us shape the Equal Exchange Action Forum. 

 

Here are some ways to get involved:

-Educate yourself. See resources on the food system, fair trade coffee, coffee producing in selected Latin American countries, sustainable farming, cooperatives, solidarity economy

-Join the Behind the Barcodes campaign

-Urge Congress to pass the Food Anti-Trust Review Act

-Become a member of the Food Action Forum

-Connect with like-minded folks at monthly Fair Trade Meet-Ups. See more at http://ohiofairtrade.com/

 

August 18, 2020: EJ Series: A Panel on the Intersection of Racial and Climate Justice in Cleveland
6 -7 pm EST
Stay tuned for all registration information!

We would like to invite you to a three-part webinar series in August that will delve into topics regarding the intersections of environmental justice, racism, and classism. These webinars will discuss work being done by progressive people and organizations internationally, nationally, as well as locally in Cleveland. We are offering this program to educate people on how the unification of these progressive movements are critical in creating a Green New Deal that works for all people.


Webinars will launch on:

  • Tuesday August 4 @ 6 pm EST
  • Tuesday August 11 @ 6 pm EST
  • Tuesday August 18 @ 6 pm EST

REGISTER HERE

Tuesday, August 18th at 6:00 PM: A Panel on the Intersection of Racial and Climate Justice in Cleveland, Ohio

Sunrise Cleveland will facilitate a discussion with other local Cleveland organizers on how we will build a cross-class, multiracial movement in Cleveland. We’ll delve into what a Green New Deal means to us in our everyday lives, as well as how we face the climate crisis both in our city and in the frontline communities bearing the brunt of climate change’s effects.

 

Panelists include Pearl Chen (Sunrise Cleveland), Destinee Henton (American Rivers), Selina Pagan (Young Latino Network-YLN), and Tessa Xuan (Ohio Progressive Asian Women’s Leadership-OPAWL). 

 

Pearl Chen (she/her/hers) is an organizer for Sunrise Cleveland, a youth-led movement dedicated to tackling the sister crises of climate change and racial/economic injustice through the creation of a Green New Deal. Pearl’s passions for environmental protection and problem-solving led her towards a career an environmental engineering. In this path, she observed that it is primarily an issue of policy, rather than technological capacity, that limits our society’s ability to tackle the problem of climate change. This observation, as well as that of the injustice that emerges alongside the climate crisis, has pushed her towards grassroots activism with Sunrise Cleveland. 

Selina Marie Pagán is a Puerto Rican organizer born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She is the Economic Development and Marketing Coordinator at Metro West Community Development Organization and serves as the President of the Young Latino Network. Selina began organizing in the diaspora after Hurricane Maria struck the island of Puerto Rico in September of 2017. Since then she has helped coordinate rallies including #1yearaftermaria,  Ricky Renuncia rallies, and most recently organized supply distributions during the earthquakes in January 2020. 

Tessa Xuan (she/they/them) is a connector, facilitator, organizer and leader of OPAWL, a grassroots community of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and nonbinary people working to build collective power in Ohio. Early experiences that moved Tessa into organizing included the death of Emilie Olsen in 2014 and the resurgence of white nationalism and anti-Muslim bigotry in 2016. Inspired by transnational feminist thought, they are motivated to reduce and prevent trauma caused by systemic oppression. She believes in the power of storytelling in social movements.

Destinee Henton

 IRTF 6-7 PM EST YOUNG NETWORK OPAWL Witnesssolidarity solidarit collective'

September 1, 2020 to September 11, 2020: Call to Artists: Memory & Resistance art show. Sep 11=submission deadline
all day - online
online

 

A Call to Artists: Memory and Resistance

 

What: 

A juried, virtual exhibition, celebrating the 40th anniversary of  the InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia. Please see more about IRTF below.

All media of 2D and 3D art work focused on the theme “Memory and Resistance.” This would include artwork expressing contemporary justice issues of our time as well as artwork honoring the memories of past and present advocates on whose shoulders we have stood and whose lives inspire us to envision a world of peace and dignity for all.

Up to two images. Label each image with your name, and, if applicable, the name of a justice advocacy group to which you belong.  Please add date, size, media, title, reason for submitting the work identified in the title, and email address.

 

When: 

  Sep 1-11, 2020: submission dates

  Sep 30: artists will be notified if their artwork is accepted

 

Where:

The virtual show will be available in November on a Memory and Resistance website (URL announced by Sep 30).  An in-person show (by invitation only) will be curated in Cleveland starting December 2* at a location to be announced.

 

How to submit images:

Please provide 300 px images, labeled with the correct information

Submission form for Memory and Resistance IRTF 40th Anniversary Virtual Exhibition

Link to submission form: https://forms.gle/rFqVndK5A6ChzsRQ9

Questions or concerns about submissions, please email  dianetheresep@hotmail.com  or kslexhibits@case.edu

 

Award: $300 for Best In Show

Jury Mentions  will have an opportunity to exhibit during December 2020 at ArtiCLE Gallery, located in the Collinwood Arts District:  15316 Waterloo Rd, Cleveland, OH 44110 .

Sponsors include: InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia, Kelvin Smith Library at CWRU, Ursuline College Wasmer Gallery, Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland, COAR Peace Mission.

 

About Memory and Resistance:

We have a rich culture of resistance and solidarity in Cleveland, Ohio. The Memory and Resistance Coalition is a group of organizations, communities, and individuals working together to mark the history of, and continued commitment to, resistance and solidarity in Greater Cleveland. The Coalition will present a year of programming (2020-2021) to spotlight, commemorate celebrate, and teach some of Cleveland’s history of resistance. Programming open to the public will include art exhibitions, expert panels, public discussions, music performances, book clubs, essay contests, and more.

The Memory and Resistance Coalition was called together by the InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia (IRTF) to commemorate its 40th anniversary year.  During the anniversary year, the coalition will honor the legacy of Cleveland’s women killed in El Salvador (see below), uplift the struggles of all oppressed peoples, and invite communities throughout Greater Cleveland to honor and reflect on our collective legacies of resistance.

 About IRTF: 

The InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia (IRTF)  brings together people from various faith and secular communities to act in solidarity with oppressed peoples in southern Mexico, Central America, and Colombia through consciousness-raising and direct consumer and political advocacy.

IRTF was formed as a nonviolent response to the horrific violence of December 2, 1980 when two members of the Cleveland Mission Team in El Salvador were murdered (Jean Donovan and Sister Dorothy Kazel) along with two Catholic sisters from Maryknoll (Ita Ford, Maura Clarke). When they were given the chance to leave El Salvador and avoid their fate, these women chose to stay. It was at that moment that their charity transformed into solidarity.

People of faith and conscience formed IRTF to continue the women’s legacy of standing in solidarity with oppressed peoples as they struggle for peace, dignity and justice.  After 40 years, IRTF continues to stand with marginalized and vulnerable communities in Latin America,  at our border, in immigration detention facilities, in county jails and state prisons, and on the streets of Cleveland. All people—everywhere—deserve dignity, care, and safe communities.

 

IRTF programs:

Afro-descendant & Indigenous Solidarity

Promoting dignity and equality for Afro-descendant and native peoples, resisting state-sponsored violence and institutionalized racism

 

Anti-Militarism & Nonviolence

Resisting militarism and upholding self-determination, freedom, democracy, and social and economic justice.

 

Environmental Human Rights

Resisting assaults on land, sovereignty, natural resources, and local cultures

 

Exploited Labor Solidarity

Engaging consumers to reform trade policies and empower workers for improved wages and working conditions

 

Fair Trade

Promoting living wages, self-determination, gender equality, and transparency through democratic processes

 

Immigrant Rights

Organizing for humane and welcoming immigration policies that promote family re-unification and recognize the right to seek political asylum

 

LGBTQ+ Solidarity

Supporting LGBTQ+ people and their families to gain broader societal inclusion and stop hate crimes

 

Youth Empowerment

Accompanying, empowering, and supporting youth to become a new generation of leaders for peace and justice

 

Rapid Response Network

Protecting people living under threat, demanding investigations of human rights crimes, and bringing human rights criminals to justice.

 

InterReligious Task Force on Central America & Colombia   

 

Facebook.com/irtf1981

@irtfcleveland                                            

www.IRTFcleveland.org

 

 

September 9, 2020: Food Action Forum - Make Our Food System Fair!
7-8pm
Zoom meeting via internet

 

Wednesdays: Aug 12, Sep 9, Oct 14 – Please join us!

Wed., Sep 9, 7-8pm: 

If the registration link is not listed here, email organizing@equalexchange.coop to ask for it. Once registered, you will receive the link for this particular zoom meeting.

 

What is the Food Action Forum? (aka Citizen-Consumer Food Movement)

This invitation to join the Food Action Forum comes from Equal Exchange, an Alternative Trade Organization (ATO) and the first fair trade coffee company in the US, which is working to build a democratic brand that connects small farmers in the Global South to consumers in the Global North. IRTF in Cleveland first introduced NE Ohioans to Equal Exchange coffee in the mid-1990s. Several faith congregations began selling Equal Exchange as an act of solidarity and justice. Heinen’s became the first grocer chain to sell Equal Exchange in all its stores in the US. IRTF and Equal Exchange have been close partners and friends ever since.  

 

What is this monthly meeting?

Food Action Forum meetings (monthly) allow all of us to connect, build community, and have space to push our campaigns forward and engage in actions out there in your communities. In today’s overwhelmingly digital world we want to find ways to create meaningful and deep connections with this community, connections that are two-way, connections that are active, not passive. We look forward to connecting, join us!

We’re working across geography and time zones to build our ATO* and a more vital movement for food justice. We look forward to connecting with you. Join us!

For any questions, please reach out to organizing@equalexchange.coop --Frankie, Danielle, Em 

 

*What are ATOs? Alternative Trade Organizations (ATOs) are at risk

Equal Exchange was founded in 1986 as an alternative trade organization (ATO) with the mission of connecting US consumers and small marginalized farmers from the global south from countries like Nicaragua, Peru, or India. Alternative trade organizations have foundational influence in the broader fair trade movement but have become isolated from even their most natural allies including coops, citizen movements, community economic organizations, unions, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  This isolation has caused ATOs to not only be under grave threat for the future but at risk of not surviving the market in the next ten to fifteen years.

 

Fair-Washing: Fair Trade is being stripped of its original meaning

The Fair Trade idea may have won successes in the last 10 years, but those successes have been limited. And in the process of gaining recognition and support, control has been wrested from small farmers and turned into a marketing attribute at the service of northern companies; it has been commodified and stripped of all real meaning. While some northern ATOs are still here and hundreds of farmer groups in the Global South hang on, "Fair Trade” as envisioned 30 years ago, is no longer recognizable.

 

Corporate Control: Our food system is being controlled by large corporations

In the wider food system, corporations control everything from seeds to supply and prices, while relentlessly chipping away at the regulations that inform and protect consumers. They fight feverishly to prevent us from knowing if GMOs are present in our food. They continue to promote production methods that hasten the warming of the planet—a present-day threat to millions of small farmers and others around the world. And, corporations count on consumers remaining unorganized to maintain the status quo.   

 

Consumers Can Make a Huge Difference: We need active consumer involvement

We now know that we cannot possibly succeed in our goal to transform the food system without the active, deep and committed participation of citizen-consumers like you. An authentic Fair Trade system requires democratic organizing of producers in the South, worker democracy for businesses in the North, and active consumer involvement in the North. 

What Are We Building?

We are taking a powerful, new step in building a democratic brand that connects small farmers in the South to consumers in the North. We believe that in order to be successful in realizing the original Fair Trade vision, we need to deepen involvement and participation in our model. In doing this, we go back to the best that Alternative Trade has always been about: innovation, global solidarity, social imagining and learning, and economic justice. This will be a long, slow process and a great challenge. We need your buying support, your investing support, and your political support. 

Please join us in building this dream. We invite you to help us shape the Equal Exchange Action Forum. 

 

Here are some ways to get involved:

-Educate yourself. See resources on the food system, fair trade coffee, coffee producing in selected Latin American countries, sustainable farming, cooperatives, solidarity economy

-Join the Behind the Barcodes campaign

-Urge Congress to pass the Food Anti-Trust Review Act

-Become a member of the Food Action Forum

-Connect with like-minded folks at monthly Fair Trade Meet-Ups. See more at http://ohiofairtrade.com/