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IRTF Events Calendar

October 21, 2019: Artist Talk: Gisela McDaniel
6:30 PM – 8 PM
SPACES studio 105, 1470 E. 105th St, Cleveland, OH 44106

Join us for an evening with Gisela McDaniel, diasporic indigenous Chamorro artist, and feminist, as she shares her journey and process behind her work. Primarily centering women who identify as indigenous, multiracial, immigrant, and of color, McDaniel’s work deliberately disrupts and responds to patterns of censorship as it relates to the exhibition of women’s bodies, voices, and stories.

Light refreshments provided. This talk is FREE but please RSVP via ticket link.

Presented in partnership with: ASIA Inc, The Ellipsis Institute for Women of Color in the Academy, the InterReligious Task Force on Central America, and the Young Latino Network.

Public FB event is

To sign up for and RSVP to this event

For more information about the artist:

For access to recordings of Gisela's work:

October 26, 2019: Ohio Fair Trade Teach-In and Expo
John Carroll University, Dolan Science Center, 1 John Carroll Blvd, University Heights OH 44118

The Ohio Fair Trade Teach-In & Expo returns to John Carroll University. This will be a day of fair trade education and shopping. It is, without a doubt, it is the finest regional fair trade event in the country. This is a must attend event for anyone in Ohio interested in justice for the Global South.

This year the teach-in is featuring speakers focused on how fair trade benefits women & families, giving them a voice in the community. The speakers will share fair trade success stories, information on the realities of Latin American economics and politics, and how fair trade is helping families avoid a treacherous journey along the migrant trail. There is also the ever popular exposition hall that will have over 35 fair trade vendors and informational tables.


Natalia García Cortés

She is based in Bogotá, Colombia, as a Programme Worker in the Right to Refuse to Kill program of War Resisters' International. She is a sociologist, with a specialization in feminist and gender studies at the National University of Colombia. Her research has focused on violence against women, sexual harassment and consent, and sociology of the body. She is a feminist committed to grassroots work including and involving women in their neighborhoods and communities. She has facilitated workshops on human rights and political training for women. 

November 1, 2019: Central America Travel Seminar to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras

Feb 17-28, 2020

Central American Migrant Trails: Exploring the Journeys to and from the United States and Why We Must Act

This is an opportunity to understand firsthand the immigration context we are facing in the US and why our Central American brothers and sisters take the risk of embarking on this dangerous journey. We will explore other potential and actual consequences of US policies, such as mass deportation, and how that is impacting the lives of the returned migrants, their families, communities and nations. The seminar will take us to the Northern Triangle:  Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras.

Access application and details at:

Contact the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program staff at or by calling 888-728-7228 x 5805.

If you are traveling from Ohio, contact or call 216-961-0003


November 3, 2019: Human Rights Banquet: 39th annual Commemoration of the Martyrs of Central America and Colombia
Beaumont School, 3301 N. Park Blvd, Cleveland Heights 44118


Guest speaker from Colombia: Natalia García Cortés, War Resisters International – Bogotá, Colombia

On December 2, 1980, four US church women working with the poor and displaced in El Salvador were kidnapped, raped and murdered by the US-backed military of El Salvador. Two of those women—Jean Donovan and Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel—were from Cleveland. In the end, they, along with Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, met the same fate as thousands of unnamed poor of El Salvador who were killed or disappeared.

Join us on Sunday, November 3 as we commemorate their sacrifice, honor their legacy, and recommit ourselves to act in solidarity with poor and marginalized communities in Central America and Colombia.



4:00pm: social hour, live music by Chakai Manta, raffle, silent auction, fair trade sales

5:30pm: speaker program (preceded by interfaith prayer service)

6:45pm: dinner (vegetarian and vegan options available)


$35 advance. $45 at the door

dinner table for 8: $250

Purchase tickets online, or call in your reservation by Friday Nov 1 to IRTF.

Walk-ins also welcome .

Info: 216 961 0003

Held at Beaumont School, 3301 N Park Blvd, Cleveland Heights (corner of Lee Rd and Fairmount Blvd). Enter from N Park Blvd side of the school.


About our guest speaker from Colombia:  Natalia García Cortés

About our guest speaker:  Natalia García Cortés

Natalia is based in Bogotá working with the Right to Refuse to Kill program of War Resisters International (WRI),  a global network of grassroots anti-militarist and pacifist groups, working together for a world without war. (Many IRTF friends are familiar with War Resisters League, the US branch of WRI.)

Natalia is a sociologist, with a specialization in feminist and gender studies at the National University of Colombia. Her research has focused on violence against women, sexual harassment and consent, and sociology of the body. She is a feminist committed to grassroots work including and involving women in their neighborhoods and communities. She has facilitated workshops on human rights and political training for women. 

WRI was founded in 1921 in opposition to all wars. Even wars of 'liberation' and 'humanitarian military intervention' are used to serve some power ­political or economic interest. All war leads to suffering, destruction, and new structures of domination.

The global anti-war network has over 90 affiliates in 40 countries. The WRI network facilitates mutual support by:

-initiating nonviolent campaigns that actively involve local groups and individuals

-supporting those who oppose war and who challenge its causes

-promoting pacifism and nonviolence through education

-linking people together through publications, events and actions


Three of WRI’s international programs are run out of the London office:

1. The Right to Refuse to Kill 

2. Nonviolence Programme

3. Countering the Militarisation of Youth.

Read more about the important work and legacy of War Resisters International on their website.


Anti-Militarism in Movement: Narratives of Resistance to War

In the summer of 2019, the War Resisters International branch in Colombia, together with other peace and resistance organizations in Colombia, led an international conference exploring the intersecting experiences of war and militarism (and resistance) from around the world. The goal was to form interconnected relationships based on mutual understanding, shared analysis, and future cooperation and collective organizing. Participants shared their experiences of:

  • organizing subsistence farmers in Colombia
  • community resistance to extractivist and large-scale infrastructure projects in Latin America
  • resisting militarization of the Mexico/US border,
  • campaigning against arms fairs and nuclear weapons in Europe
  • building peace communities in post-conflict areas like South Sudan

Conference participants did the work of building “peaces” (plural to reflect the complexity and diversity of how peace is manifested) by identifying common concerns, framing and understanding, and then mapping out their work and networks of relationships. They organized around three key themes: 1- Diverse Peaces, 2- Just Peaces, and 3- Sustainable Peaces.  They identified two dozen action points and developed many into action plans.

Each of the key peace themes was divided into a sub-theme group, facilitated by Colombian organizers who led participants through a series of exercises:

1- Diverse Peaces

Exclusion (discrimination)

Identities (patriarchy, heteronormativity, feminisms)

Fear and social control (militarization of media and technologies, militarization of education)


2- Just Peaces

Repressive models (youth militarization, criminalization of protest, police militarization)

Political transitions and justice models (security, punitive justice models hegemonic models of conflict resolution)


3- Sustainable Peaces

Environment (climate change, climate justice)

Territory (land, border conflicts, access to resources)

Development (extractivism, wealth concentration, agriculture, arms trade)

The conference brought together a diverse range of participants to share experiences and communication across borders. This means that the outcomes of the conference will be distributed in ways relevant to particular contexts and experiences. A focus on building towards future projects will allow participants to evaluate over the next year some impacts of the conference.

Conscientious Objection

Participants included Colombian men who have refused to participate in their country’s 50-year armed conflict.  “I am not a weapon of war”: Read a statement by conscientious objectors in Colombia here.


Human Rights Banquet: 39th annual Commemoration of the Martyrs of Central America and Colombia

Tickets are still available. See

November 3, 2019: Support Form for IRTF Commemoration: become a dinner sponsor, donate a raffle prize, or purchase a program book ad

Dear supporter of human rights throughout the Americas:

On Sunday, November 3, 2019, the InterReligious Task Force on Central America (IRTF) will commemorate the 39th anniversary of the sacrifice of Cleveland’s missionaries in El Salvador. On December 2, 1980—four US women (including Jean Donovan and Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel of Cleveland) paid with their lives for their decision to stay in solidarity with poor, marginalized, victims of violence in El Salvador. Our organization was founded to honor their witness and carry forward their legacy of solidarity.  Since 1981, we have been promoting peace and justice in Central America by engaging Ohioans in education and action.  

Please support our work for the people of Central America and Colombia: promoting peace, justice, human rights, and systemic transformation through nonviolence.

On November 3, hundreds will gather to mark the sacrifice of Cleveland’s church women 39 years ago, honor those killed today for standing up for human rights, and recommit ourselves to act in solidarity with poor and marginalized communities in Central America and Colombia.

Will you support this important work for human rights?

$300-$700… dinner sponsorship

$75-$500…..program book ad

Raffle donation: gift card, product…you name it!

Food donation: ask us for a list of things we need


How you can help:

Fill out the attached reply form, call us at (216) 961-0003, or email

We look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you.

IRTF Board of Trustees

Heather Craigie and Rachel Rosen DeGolia, co-chairs


P.S. Please spread the word about our exciting guest speaker at this year’s event. Natalia García Cortés is based in Bogotá, Colombia, with War Resisters International (WRI). As a sociologist with a specialization in feminist and gender studies, Natalia researches violence against women and facilitates political training and community organizing sessions with women. Read more about the event:

November 13, 2019: Clone of Clone of Fair Food Action Forum - join us!
zoom conference via internet

Monthly meetings: Sep 11, Oct 9, Nov 13

Equal Exchange Action Forum - You can help us take back our food system!

Equal Exchange Action Forum - a network of active consumers across the US

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 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.

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.   

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.  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

November 15, 2019 to November 18, 2019: SOA Watch Annual Commemorative Gathering
Fort Benning Columbus, Georgia

IRTF will be coordinating a delegation to travel to and participate in the weekend's events at Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA. If you are passionate about this work and would like to join us on this journey with IRTF and SOA Watch, please fill out our delegation application

The regular cost of attendance per person is $250 (includes travel and lodging). Financial assistance is available upon request. We welcome all to apply and will do what we can to make sure that anyone and everyone has the opportunity and ability to join in this important delegation.This year's gathering marks the 30th anniversary of the Central American University (UCA) massacre — one of the many atrocities that occurred in Central America as the United States funded civil wars, trained military at the SOA/WHINSEC, and ensured that right-wing governments remain in power regardless of their human rights violations.


Given that it’s the 30th anniversary of the Central American University (UCA) massacre, we will gather at the gates of the School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, GA, from November 15-17, bridging the past and present. Together, we recommit ourselves to never forgetting the violence that our communities have been subjected to, not only in word, but in action.

Make no mistake, we will not rest until we dismantle the wall and all the racist, xenophobic, classist, dehumanizing policies that prop it up. We also want to be clear that our work to dismantle border imperialism is ongoing, and we still need to respond, we still need to resist — no more deaths from SOA to the Borderlands!! To the implementation of increasingly xenophobic and racist practices, we say “BASTA – NO MAS! ENOUGH – NO MORE!”

Memoria y Resistencia: Close the School of the Americas

We understand that the conditions people are fleeing in Central America are a result of the training, support, and funding that the United States has funneled into state violence for decades....The US has deployed troops and border patrol agents to Guatemala in order to “halt migration”, justifying it as “humanitarian aid”. The architects of death would like us to believe that what happens in the borderlands is distinct from the training provided at SOA/WHINSEC, but we know that US-supported state violence is at the root of forced displacement and the reason people are dying at the border right now.

We know that we must be as fierce, strategic, and effective as possible to hold the US accountable for the decades of intervention that have devastated communities throughout the Americas, resulting in torture, forced disappearance, mass displacement, assassination, and forced migration.