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IRTF Events Calendar

February 20, 2020: Humanitarian Crisis at the Southern Border: My First Hand Experience
Temple Israel Ner Tamid 1732 Lander Road, Mayfield Heights 44124

Dr. Eva Moya, Assistant Professor of the Department of Social Work at the University of Texas at El Paso will speak on her first-hand experiences living on the El Paso/Juarez border. 

Residents of the Cleveland area had their first encounter with Dr. Moya in the fall of 2019 when Temple Israel Ner Tamid synagogue sent a 54’ semi trailer filled with much needed items for children on both sides of the border wall.

Putting the concept of “Tikkun Olum” to work, Dr. Moya truly uses her expertise to better the world. We are honored to welcome her to northeast Ohio.

Free and open to the public.

For more information, call
440 473 5120.

Dr. Eva Moya is a Kellogg National Leadership Fellow and expert on social sciences, social and behavioral health challenges, the homeless, the US/Mexico border.  She is nationally recognized for her research on tuberculosis, stigma, women, HIV AIDS, homelessness and intimate partner violence, and for creating an off campus macro course of practice to serve the homeless.

This event is co-sponsored by Temple Israel Ner Tamid, Beth El-The Heights Synagogue, Kol Halev

February 20, 2020: Coalition to Stop the Inhumanity at the Cuyahoga County Jail
Khnemu Lighthouse, 966 E 105th St, Cleveland, OH 44108

This month's meeting will take the form of a training on the Criminal Punishment System. Together we'll explore what it is, how it shows up in our community, the deep layers of law institutions, and actors that prop it up, and the even deeper historical and cultural layer of lies that form its foundation. We'll look at the system within our local context as well as through an international lens, and discuss how we can apply what we learn to our organizing work. The training will be 6:30PM-8:30PM at the Khnemu Lighthouse, 966 E 105th St, Cleveland, OH 44108. As always, dinner will be potluck style, so feel free to bring a dish if you are able! And be sure to RSVP and invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Demands of the Coalition

Bring all the Cuyahoga County Jails, including the one at the “Justice” Center, the Juvenile Detention Center, Euclid, and Bedford Hts., into compliance with the "Minimum Standards for Jails in Ohio."
a. Implement Zero Tolerance for Guard Brutality immediately.
b. Bring the Jail into immediate compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act.
c. Clean the Jail immediately. Bring the facilities up to basic sanitary eating and sleeping conditions. Rid the sleeping areas of feces and urine; replace ALL moldy trays
d. Give all detainees immediate ability to make a phone call, undergo medical and mental evaluation and needed treatment, including addiction services.
e. Cease coercive pressure, to waive the right to a speedy trial, and plead out to a lesser charge.
2. Provide full access to healthcare services. Immediately end the deprivation of resources, including food, water, and medicine/medical services, including addiction treatment.
3. Establish Mental Health diversion centers, serving needs/lessening overcrowding.
4. End the transfer of children to adult correctional facilities.
5. Increase funding to support reentry support services: Implement policies and approaches that link those reentering society with needed treatment, housing, employment.
6. End the use of criminal history, including past convictions, in determining eligibility for housing, education, licenses, voting, loans, employment, and other services and needs.
7. Carry out the swift implementation of bail reform. Honor the county’s commitment to reforms by centralizing bail hearings, investing in comprehensive pretrial services, establishing uniform bond schedules (county-wide), and releasing anyone held for a low-level offense on personal recognizance.
We demand the release of all inmates held pre-trial for low level, nonviolent offenses. This use of pretrial detention should be severely limited, and if deemed necessary, a recorded justification for imposing any bail must be met and available to the public upon request.
8. Begin systematic data collection, reporting, and transparency governed and led by a committee of affected community members, over the Criminal Justice Reform Task Force. We demand this task force propose a timeline for achieving promised reforms to the county’s bail system and agree to independent oversight.
9. Set up independent oversight, governed and led by a committee of affected community members, over the Criminal Justice Reform Task Force.
10. Repay your moral debt to all those subjected to the Jail inhumanity through acknowledgement, apology, assurance of future protection from harm, and material reparations the details of which must be determined through mediation with affected inmates, overseen by independent practitioners of transformative justice.
The Coalition to Stop the Inhumanity at the Cuyahoga County Jail:
Black Lives Matter Cleveland
Black On Black Crime, Inc.
Carl Stokes Brigade
Cleveland Democratic Socialists of America
Cleveland Lead Safe Network
Communist Party USA Cleveland
Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus (CCPC)
Imperial Women Coalition
Inter-Religious Task Force
Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition
Ohio Organizing Collaborative
Ohio Student Association
Puncture the Silence-Stop Mass Incarceration
Refuse Fascism Cleveland
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) NEO
Survivors/Victims of Tragedy, Inc.
Tamir E. Rice Foundation
February 21, 2020 to February 23, 2020: Rise Against Militarism, Racism, and the Climate Crisis: Building Power Together
People's Forum in New York City

 The United National Anti-War Coalition (UNCA) conference comes at a time when the US has become exceeding aggressive in pursuing its regime change agenda in one country after another. Recent renewed resistence in Iraq show the absurdity of the US regime change wars around the world.  The US assassination of Iranian military leader Qassim Soleimani during a US airstrike at Baghdad's airport threatens increased war throughout the region. The military budget continues to rise, and the administration and Congress have agreed to start a new program that will militarize space.  Many of us who have traveled to other countries that are being attacked by the US militarily or through economic sanctions, coup attempts, and propaganda wars understand that people all over the world look to the US peace movement to aid them in their struggle to be able to determine their own future.  To live up to these expectations we need to build a strong, unified antiwar movement.  So, we urge you to join us at the UNAC conference on the weekend of February 21 – 23.

Please register here:

Put an ad in our conference program journal here:

Information on lodging and other logistics can be found at the conference web site here.


Speakers will include:

           Ann Wright (Veterans for Peace and Code Pink)

           Ajamu Baraka (Black Alliance for Peace)

           Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report)

           Kevin Zeese (Popular Resistance and Venezuelan Embassy Protectors)

           Medea Benjamin (Code Pink)

           Margaret Flowers (Popular Resistance and Venezuelan Embassy Protectors)

           Margaret Kimberly (Black Alliance for Peace and Black Agenda Report)

           Sara Flounders (International Action Center)

           Jeff Mackler (West Coast UNAC)

           Rhonda Ramiro (BAYAN USA)

           Joe Lombardo UNAC co-coordinator)

           Bahman Azad (US Peace Council)

           Frank Chapman (National Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression)

           Abby Martin (Journalist and film maker)

                      And more. 

Read UNAC's Principles of Unity (policy positions) here

February 21, 2020: Tigers Are Not Afraid - film from Mexico
Baldwin Wallace University, Marting Hall Berea OH 44017

A haunting horror fairytale set against the backdrop of Mexico’s devastating drug wars, "Tigers Are Not Afraid" follows a group of orphaned children, armed with three magical wishes, running from the ghosts that haunt them and the cartel that murdered their parents.

Filmmaker Issa López creates a world that recalls the early films of Guillermo del Toro, imbued with her own gritty urban spin on magical realism to conjure a wholly unique experience that audiences will not soon forget.

Watch the trailer at

Campus map and more info here .

Here is a review of the film by Brina Tallerico posted on

It’s not surprising that Guillermo del Toro has been a vocal advocate for Issa López’s “Tigers Are Not Afraid.” The film was clearly deeply influenced by Del Toro’s “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth,” which merge fantasy and supernatural elements with real-life horrors. In those films, and López’s, the real monsters are flesh and blood. They carry guns and victimize the innocent. At its best, López’s movie has that del Toro signature style, and she also proves herself a deft director of children, another element she shares in common with the Oscar winner. There are moments in the midsection of “Tigers” in which I wished the film had more urgency and rising tension, but then the film lands with a breathtaking final shot. I mean that literally—I gasped. And it’s a shot that will linger with me, a perfect closing beat for a film that has become one of the most-buzzed of 2019 for a reason.

One important element that separates “Tigers” from a masterpiece like “Backbone” is that López’s film is not a period piece. For a lot of viewers, it will feel like something they can’t relate to, but it tells a very current story, especially given how much the drug war on the border of Mexico and the state of immigration dominates our political discourse. López opens by reminding us how many people have been murdered and disappeared in Mexico since 2006, when the drug war intensified and riddled the air with violence to such a degree that there are entire cities that have become ghost towns.

Our story is set in one of these cities, where children have been orphaned by the violence that surrounds them, forming a sort of “lost boys” group of their own on a rooftop. They steal food and the supplies to keep them alive, and they’re led by an angry young man named Shine (Juan Ramon López). In an early scene, Shine steals a phone and a gun from a local thug named Caco (Ianis Guerrero), and nearly shoots him in the back. Not long after this decision, a quiet girl named Estrella (the incredible Paola Lara, whose commitment holds the whole film together) comes home after a school shooting to find her mother is missing. She joins Shine’s gang, and they tell Estrella that her mother was likely kidnapped and either trafficked or murdered. And then Caco and his men come looking for his phone.

You may be wondering how fantasy plays into such a dark, realist narrative. López opens with a teacher asking her students to write a fairy tale, and some of the elements of that instruction weave their way through the film. There’s a mysterious blood trail that follows Estella; she is haunted by something in the shadows that may or may not be her mother; she’s even been granted three wishes, which will play major roles in how her story unfolds. While some filmmakers would have used the magical elements of Estella’s life to provide an escape from reality, López is more interested in using them to enhance the danger and symbolism of her story. Don’t come into this wanting answers about what’s real and what isn’t—you won’t find them. López merges the horrors of real life with fairy tale structures and storytelling in a way that’s ambitious and consistently fascinating.

The union of the two doesn’t always click, though. To be blunt, what del Toro does is very difficult to maintain tonally, and “Tigers” doesn’t quite come together like his best work. There’s a sense of mounting danger in the best films like this that is just a bit lacking in “Tigers.” I wanted to feel the monsters closing in on Estrella and Shine more than I did, as the film kind of plays on one level, even as López proves she’s willing to take some risks in terms of presenting the real danger of this world. Still, when a film opens with a school shooting and a child pointing a gun, it’s hard to build from there in terms of danger and urgency. Consequently, “Tigers Are Not Afraid” is more a film that I appreciated instead of becoming enveloped in its world and fully invested in the plight of its characters. 

That is until that final shot. Without spoiling anything, López uses color and space in a way she doesn’t otherwise in the film, and the result casts everything before it in a poignant light. These ghost towns of orphans are so violent and tragic that perhaps the only way we can even possibly understand and relate to what’s happening there is through a fairy tale. “Tigers Are Not Afraid” may be imperfect, but you can feel the passion and creativity of its filmmaker in every decision. She’s fearless. 

February 24, 2020 to February 28, 2020: Supply Drive for Trials for Hope and ITA
9 am - 5 pm
IRTF Cleveland 3606 Bridge Ave. Cleveland OH 44113

IRTF is happy to announce a supply drive in support of our neighbors and friends at Trials for Hope on the near west side. IRTF and Trials for Hope have been working as partners for the past few months in an effort to build coalition bewtween our two organizations and that communities and populations we represent. 

Trials for hope has requested:

  • canned protein (meat, beans)
  • #6 and #4 diapers
  • AA and AAA batteries
  • bus passes
  • mac n' cheese

(These have been requested specifically but they'd happily accept anything else you're willing to give!)

They are also looking for a volunteer who is skilled in IT and who would be willing to help with tech needs.

These donations can be brough directly to IRTF's office (address above) withing normal business hours. If you are unable to make it during these hours, please contact to schedule an alternative visit to drop off goods. Thank you in advance!


Trials for Hope delivers dignity and hope to those who fall between the cracks, bringing wholesome food, personal care items and warmth to the greater Cleveland area. In 2010 Jon Gray was gifted a large donation of trial sized toiletries and decided to bring it to a local community meal. A line quickly formed and the expressions of gratitude were encouraging, but a greater need was also revealed. Many in the community had needs and requirements that weren't being met by assistance programs, they had fallen between the cracks. Whether medical, clothing or personal care - the community was struggling and Jon saw a way to answer the need. Through dedication, personal connections and tireless outreach to both the giving communities and those in need he has been able to continually answer 'yes' when those who struggle reach out for help. 

Because they have worked so passionately and tirelessly to create the vast storeroom that they now have today, they were in a unique position to offer support to IRTF in the earlier days of our Immigration Transit Assitance (ITA) program here in Cleveland. IRTF joined a networks of tranist assistance programs (NITA) to address the needs of immigrants traveling along the Overground Railroad (as we call it) from detention centers to their end destinations in the U.S. After an immigrant has been detained at the border, they are brought to detention centers throughout the United States to await their immigratiopn hearing. Oftentimes, this detention center is hours if not days away from their sponsor's home in the United States, whcih means that upon release, these individuals have to travel along bus routes with only that with which they arrived to the U.S, which rarely includes water, food, warm clothes, medicine, toiletries, feminine care prodcuts, or child care products. 

In December of 2019, Jonathan at Trials for Hope agreed to serve as the warehouse for all ITA needs here in Cleveland, meaning that when volunteers agreed to meet immigrants at transit stations, they could stop by Trials for Hope first and get all of the supplies they need.

If you have been to IRTF's lovably tiny office, then you know how much of a blessing this is! To show our appreciation for this partnership, IRTF is collecting supplies (requested by Trials for Hope) which we will then take over to their warehouse right down Bridge Ave.

Please donate!

February 27, 2020: Ground Zero in the Struggle for Environmental Justice (a webinar)

Ground Zero in the Struggle for Environmental Justice (a webinar)

Around the country, the health and well-being of communities, and their children in particular, are threatened by corporations that pump toxic chemicals into the air. In this webinar, we will feature leaders from grassroots organizations in these fenceline communities as we learn what faith communities can do. Even if you can’t make the webinar on February 27th at 1 pm ET, sign-up to get a recording.

February 28, 2020 to March 8, 2020: WFP - Solidarity Collective Delegation Environmental Justice in Colombia

Confronting Climate Change and Building Peace: Environmental Justice in Colombia


After decades of armed conflict, the people of Colombia are still fighting to achieve peace and resolution in their nation. However, ecotourism and megaprojects led by multinational groups are not only harming the environment but driving a wedge between the Peace Process.

In reality, the Peace Process opened up more space for multinational investment and business interests because it failed to change the neoliberal economic model. US-supported policies, such as aerial fumigation, facilitate greater business investments by forcing occupants to lear the land, thus leaving it open for businesses to move in.

This delegation will explore dual facets of climate change, how US policies contribute to continued environmental degradation in Colombia, how the narrative of climate change is used as a justification for displacement, and how the threat of climate change prevents indigenous and rural communities from protecting their land, and the opportunity to advocate for their right to peace and environmental justice.


$1,000 + international airfare
Price covers meals, lodging, interpreters, and transportation within Colombia, along with reading and activist tools. 
Fundraising help is available


Apply by following this link.

Application & $250 deposit due January 15, 2020.
Remaining Balance due January 28, 2020.


Payment should be made through Witness for Peace by following this link or mailing to 

Witness for Peace Midwest
PO box 6078
Minneapolis, Mn 55406
*Please note the name of the delegation on the check


For more information contact and

February 29, 2020: Tea Time for Peace
West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church, 20401 Hilliard Blvd, Rocky River 44116
Teatime for Peace
Saturday, February 29, 2020
What: interfaith community dialogue
Focus: get to know your Muslim neighbor
Where: West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church
What else: light lunch
RSVP encouraged: 440 333 2255
March 1, 2020: Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Cleveland, 21600 Shaker Blvd Shaker Heights 44122

Join us on Sunday, March 1st for a discussion and Q&A session with Alec Karakatsanis, author of Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System.

Publisher's Weekly calls the book "A fiery indictment of America’s criminal justice system [and a] provocative cri de coeur.”

Mac's Backs will be onsite selling copies of Unusual Cruelty. The books are available ahead of time at Mac's Backs and other local bookstores.

Contact: Laurie Albright (

March 3, 2020: Friends of Immigrants Meeting - Cleveland Heights
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Forest Hill Church Presbyterian, 3031 Monticello Blvd, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

Friends of Immigrants supports migrants and refugees locally in NE Ohio as well as at the US/Mexico Border. Join us to learn about various initiatives in defense and support of our immigrant sisters and brothers. Meetings are held on the first Tuesday evening of each month in rotation at St. Dominic Church, Forest Hill Church Presbyterian, and St. Paschal Baylon Church.

Steering Committee
Bill Shaul - from Federated UCC
Sharon Shumaker - from Forest Hill Church Presbyterian
Peggy Murphy - from St. Dominic Church (
Dale Winsberg - unaffiliated
Anne Hill - unaffiliated 
(someone yet to be named)  - St. Paschal Baylon Church
Meetings are held on the first Tuesday evening of each month in rotation at St. Dominic, Forest Hill, and St. Pascal Baylon.


March 3, 2020: Defining the Green New Deal: Creating Equitable Green Jobs
West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church, 20401 Hilliard Blvd, Rocky River, OH 44116

Defining the Green New Deal: Creating Equitable Green Jobs – Tuesday, March 3, 2020, 7pm, West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church, 20401 Hilliard Blvd, Rocky River. The GND calls for retrofitting our buildings to be energy efficient, a smart grid, electric cars, public transportation and more. How will the GND affect fossil fuel workers? Poverty wage workers? The Unemployed? Free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30pm for light refreshments and tabling information from area environmental groups.  

March 5, 2020 to March 21, 2020: Marisol - at Teatro Público de Cleveland
7:30pm, juev/vier/sáb/lun (Thu/Fri/Sat/Mon)
Cleveland Public Theatre 6415 Detroit Ave Cleveland 44102


$15 Thursday and Monday performances

$35 Friday and Saturday performances

March 05, 2020 - March 21, 2020

7:30pm, juev/vier/sáb/lun (Thu/Fri/Sat/Mon), Gordon Square Theatre. Pre-estreno el 5 de marzo. Noche de Estreno el 6 de marzo. / Previews March 5. Opening night is March 6.

Marisol Perez es visitada por su ángel guardián, y así se entera de que hay una guerra en el cielo, una revolución por suplantar al viejo y senil Dios quien está convirtiendo el cosmos en un caos. Sola, y sin la protección de su ángel guardián, Marisol empieza su pesadilla en un mundo apocalíptico en donde los ángeles han intercambiado sus alas por armas, la luna no ha sido vista en meses y la comida se ha convertido en sal. La obra de José Rivera, ganadora del Premio Obie (Premio al Teatro fuera de Broadway) es una pieza esencial, fantástica, y suele ser humorística, contemporánea, clásica, inspirándonos a despertar y cambiar el mundo que nos rodea. Esta obra será presentada en español con subtítulos en inglés. Estreno Regional de la Producción en español.

Esta producción también aborda temas como el clasismo y el racismo, e incluye temas religiosos radicales. 

Visited by her Guardian Angel, Marisol Perez learns there is a war in heaven, a revolution to supplant the old and senile God who is turning the cosmos to chaos. Alone, without her protector, Marisol begins a nightmare journey into an apocalyptic world where angels have turned in their wings for machine guns, the moon has not been seen in months, and food has been turned to salt. José Rivera’s Obie-Award-winning play is a primal, fantastical, and often humorous contemporary classic inspiring us to wake up and change the world around us. Performed in Spanish with English subtitles. Spanish Production Regional Premiere.

Themes in this play: violence (including sexual violence), war, murder, and birth and untimely death; lassism and racism, and includes radical religious themes. 

Read more and reserve tickets here

Para mayores detalles, por favor contactar a la boletería llamando al 216.631.2727 x501 o por correo electrónico

March 5, 2020: Immigrant Defense Vigil
Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building, 1240 E. 9th St. (at Lakeside), downtown Cleveland

[First Thursday vigils: Jan. 9, Feb. 6, Mar. 5]

Why we gather

To show the love, concern, and compassion that the people of Ohio have for immigrants who are suffering under the harsh policies of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

About the vigils

People of faith and conscience in NE Ohio have been organizing interfaith vigils in defense of immigrants since September 2018. At these vigils we pray, sing, hold silence, and call on those in power to act in accordance with values of justice and compassion. We gather to show the love, concern, and compassion that the people of Ohio have for immigrants who are suffering under the harsh policies of ICE.

We pray for
...the families who have endured immense pain and suffering at the hands of our government
...comfort and hope for those languishing in detention
...a change of heart in our leaders so that they might change their ways

We stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers locked in cages. We demand their release!

Our banner, “This Is About Family,” draws attention to the pain and suffering experienced by immigrant families. Near-record levels of apprehensions, detentions, and deportations are tearing families apart.

All people of faith and conscience are welcome. Your presence is most appreciated.

Our demands

As people of faith and conscience, we are calling on the US government to:

1- give permanent legal status to immigrants with DACA and TPS

2- end family separation

3- decrease the number of detention beds

4- cut the budgets for ICE and USCBP (US Customs & Border Protection)

5- resume discretion in immigration enforcement and prosecution

*DACA=Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (aka “Dreamers”)

*TPS = Temporary Protected Status

Unreasonable, Unjust, Cruel Enforcement – and a waste of our tax dollars

Parents are getting picked up by ICE and Border Patrol while driving to work or dropping off their kids at school. This is absolutely cruel! The US government should only pursue those who have been convicted of serious violent crimes. Other immigrants should be allowed to continue living, working, and raising their children until broader immigration reforms are put in place.

For those who are suffering from harsh immigration enforcement policies, we gather to bear witness to the inhumane treatment that is being funded by US taxpayer dollars. We hold them in the light of hope and pray for compassion. Please join us!


Check with

(216) 961 0003 IRTF office

 P.S. These Thursday gatherings are vigils, not rallies. So please don’t bring your own signs. We will gather around the common banner, “This is about family.” Thank you.

Please like and share the Facebook event.


March 11, 2020: Food Action Forum - Make Our Food System Fair!
Zoom meeting via internet


Wednesdays: Jan 8, Feb 12, Mar 11 – Please join us!

If you live in the Greater Cleveland area and would like to sit down with a small group to participate in this zoom meeting together (either at the IRTF office or a coffee shop), please email or call (216) 961 0003

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


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 --Frankie, Em, Danielle


*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


March 12, 2020: Trafficked in America
Cuyahoga County Public Library 2121 Snow Rd., Parma 44134

Frontline's "Trafficked in America" screening and discussion. Human trafficking is happening in Ohio. How can we be alert to this crime and what can we do change this alarming trend?
All are welcome to this free event.
Trafficked in America (2018)
53 mins
The inside story of Guatemalan teens forced to work against their will in Ohio. An investigation of labor trafficking exposes a criminal network that exploited undocumented minors, companies profiting from forced labor, and the US government's role.

Andrés Cediel, Daffodil Altan
Supplier: PBS

Presented by Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network.

Share the Facebook event

March 13, 2020 to March 15, 2020: International Days of Action Against Sanctions & Economic War
International Days of Action Against US Imposed Sanctions

US imposed sanctions, violate international law and are a tool of regime change. They impact a third of humanity in 39 countries.  They are a crime against humanity used, like military intervention, to topple popular governments and movements.   They provide economic and military support to pro-US right-wing forces.

The US economic dominance and its +800 military bases worldwide demands all other countries participate in acts of economic strangulation.  They must end all normal trade relations, otherwise, they risk having Wall Street’s guns pointed at them.  The banks and financial institutions that are responsible for the devastation of our communities at home drive the plunder of countries abroad.

The Alliance for Global Justice is encouraging mobilizations and educational efforts to be organized for the International Days of Action against US imposed Sanctions and Economic War on March 13-15.

Please add your endorsement and help spread the word.

March 27, 2020 to March 29, 2020: Dismantle Border Imperialism: Convergence in Tucson

Apply to Join IRTF on this Delegation HERE!

SOA Watch recently released a report outlining the egregious history and results of US training of Latin American state agents and how that training is now being provided to US Department of Homeland Security agents, specifically Border Patrol and ICE staff, for use against migrants and refugees at borders and within the US.

Why is this of concern?

1-  More than 100 people have been killed by US Border Patrol as a direct result of their excessive use of force over the last 15 years. This includes the cross-border killings of 15-year-old Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca in 2010 and 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez in 2012;  both were killed by US Border Patrol agents who shot them from the US side of the border! when the teenagers were on Mexican soil.

2- Not a single Border Patrol agent has even been held legally accountable for these killings

3- recent internal government report concluded that criminal misconduct by border officers is at a five-year high

4- Border Patrol and ICE agents are being trained at Ft Benning, the home of the ignominious School of Assassins (School of Americas/WHINSEC).


Since the 1990s, SOA Watch has been monitoring the results of the civilian-targeted warfare training provided at SOA/WHINSEC. These militarized security forces (who are being lethally trained) lack oversight and disproportionately target communities of color. It is our obligation to continue to resist and stand in solidarity with the victims of US-led and sanctioned state violence to end these egregious patterns of violence and the structures that uphold them.


March 27-29, 2020: SOA Watch is collaborating with other organizations to facilitate a weekend of panels and action in Tucson, Arizona, to further our collective work to dismantle border imperialism and all forms of US-led and supported violence that threaten the well-being and autonomy of our communities and territories. More information will be available in the upcoming weeks.

We hope you will join us in Tucson and in our ongoing call for solidarity with migrants around the world who seek a dignified life. Together, we affirm the right to stay in one’s homeland with dignity, we affirm the right to migrate, and we affirm that no human being is ever illegal. Together, we will continue to fight for a better and more just world!

April 7, 2020: Friends of Immigrants Meeting - Cleveland Heights
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
St Dominic Church, 19000 Van Aken Blvd, Shaker Heights, OH 44122

Friends of Immigrants supports migrants and refugees locally in NE Ohio as well as at the US/Mexico Border. Join us to learn about various initiatives in defense and support of our immigrant sisters and brothers. Meetings are held on the first Tuesday evening of each month in rotation at St. Dominic Church, Forest Hill Church Presbyterian, and St. Paschal Baylon Church.

Steering Committee
Bill Shaul - from Federated UCC
Sharon Shumaker - from Forest Hill Church Presbyterian
Peggy Murphy - from St. Dominic Church (
Dale Winsberg - unaffiliated
Anne Hill - unaffiliated 
(someone yet to be named)  - St. Paschal Baylon Church
Meetings are held on the first Tuesday evening of each month in rotation at St. Dominic, Forest Hill, and St. Pascal Baylon.


April 18, 2020: Women’s Suffrage Centennial Symposium: From Complex Legacy to Collective Action
Tinkham Veale University Center at CWRU, 11038 Bellflower Rd., Cleveland 44106

This symposium brings together leading voices on the women's struggle for the vote and will reflect on the historical meaning of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the extension of the franchise to women.

Morning speakers:

    • Paula J. Giddings, retired professor of Africana Studies, Smith College, and author of When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America,  In Search of Sisterhood: Delta Sigma Theta and the Challenge of the Black Sorority Movement, and Ida: A Sword Among Lions – Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching.
    • Dawn Teele, professor, Political Science Department, University of Pennsylvania, and author of Forging the Franchise: The Political Origins of the Women's Vote

Panel discussion “Where do we go from here? A Call to Action Moment”

    • Amy Hanauer, Executive Director of Ohio Policy Matters, will moderate. Panelists include:
    • Crystal Bryant, Co-project Director, Cleveland Votes
    • Destinee Henton, Ohio Outreach Coordinator, Alliance for the Great Lakes
    • Rebecca Maurer, Maurer Law LCC, Lead Member Cleveland Advocates for Safe Housing (CLASH) 
    • Jasmine Santana, Councilwoman, Cleveland City Council Ward 14

Lunchtime facilitated discussions
Keynote speaker 

    • Virginia Kase, CEO of the League of Women Voters of the U. S., will wrap up during dessert, with a “charge” to move forward and get involved.

Cosponsoring with the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland are:  CWRU Flora Stone Mather Center for Women ★ CWRU Political Science Department ★ CWRU Siegal Lifelong Learning ★ CWRU Center for Civic Engagement and learning ★ CWRU African American Studies ★ CWRU Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences ★ CWRU Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity ★ Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Alpha Omega Chapter ★ Cleveland Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University ★ Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Women in Law Section ★ Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Greater Cleveland Alumnae Chapter ★ Facing History and Ourselves ★ Hispanic Roundtable ★ The Junior League of Cleveland ★ The Western Reserve (OH) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated ★ National Council of Jewish Women/Cleveland ★ Norman S. Minor Bar Association ★ Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Cleveland Chapter  ★ Urban League of Greater Cleveland ★ Women of Color Foundation ★ YWCA of Greater Cleveland

Link and registration info for the event is here

April 24, 2020 to April 27, 2020: Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2020

Imagine! God’s Earth and People Restored

Around the world, the most marginalized communities disproportionately affected by hunger, poverty, and the structural history of colonialism and racism are experiencing the impacts of the climate crisis most profoundly. Women and children in these communities suffer the most.

Earth and its people are groaning and calling for us to respond in hope. We are all affected. Temperatures are rising dramatically and dangerously everywhere, disrupting ecological systems and every type of human activity. The generations of tomorrow depend on what we do today.

EAD 2020 will explore the intersection of climate change and economic injustice. This will galvanize our advocacy on behalf of policies and programs to chip away at the systems of oppression that keep people in poverty and push all life on earth to the brink of destruction.

In his encyclical, Laudato Si, Pope Francis recognized the double injustice of climate change and poverty. He is part of a growing chorus of various faith leaders who are raising their voices. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its last report issued a call for urgent, scaled up, global and local action.

Churches continue to respond actively to the climate crisis with disaster relief to support low-income communities and ecosystems most impacted by climate-related disasters. They are also working to build resilient and sustainable communities and economies that can create jobs and prevent future disasters. Churches are partnering with youth, indigenous communities, civil and human rights organizations, the international community, and others to address inequality and strengthen the movement for climate justice.

2020 will be a pivotal year for the United States, and the world, with a U.S. general election that will set the course for many years ahead. As people of faith, we see the political reality of this time. Yet we also hold hope for a time yet to come when all people, regardless of race, gender, economic status, ability, or age will realize the full vision of God’s desire for a just community and a flourishing Earth.

To advance this vision, we are called to speak out for justice – climate justice and economic justice. Join us at EAD 2020 to imagine and advocate for an Earth and its people restored.

“This territory is not ours, it’s not mine, it’s not yours. It belongs to the generation yet to come.” ~ Maritza Naforo, Huitoto indigenous leader, Colombia

“We look for — and speed the coming of — the new heavens and a new earth, where justice is at home” (2 Pet. 3:12,13).


Ecumenical Advocacy Days is a movement of the ecumenical Christian community, and its recognized partners and allies, grounded in biblical witness and our shared traditions of justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Our goal, through worship, theological reflection and opportunities for learning and witness, is to strengthen our Christian voice and to mobilize for advocacy on a wide variety of U.S. domestic and international policy issues.


Contact IRTF if you would like to travel from NE Ohio. Otherwise, see: