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IRTF Events Calendar

September 20, 2019 to September 23, 2019: Days of Prayer and Action for Peace in Colombia

A place of diverse peoples, cultures and ecology, Colombia is tragically also home to the longest running internal armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere.

Colombia’s faith communities stand firmly for peace amidst grueling violence. Now they ask faith communities across the U.S. to join them in this year's Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia (DOPA). Hundreds of faith communities will dedicate part of their worship service that weekend to praying and working for peace in Colombia.

September 20-23 are days of solidarity and prayer with brothers and sisters in Colombia. We want to lift up those who are working for peace today and for the peace accords of tomorrow.

ADVOCATE – Colombia’s crucial peace process is under attack, so we will offer resources for how to advocate with the UN, in the US, and in Colombia.

CREATE - With friends, family, Sunday school classes, or other groups, gather to show your personal and collective commitment to peace in Colombia. Share photos or short videos on the Facebook page. #DOPA2019

DEDICATE - Commit to including prayers for peace in Colombia in your worship service.

#DOPA2019 “Pactemos la paz”

“When I visited Colombia last year, I realized how beautiful this country is. Colombia is rich in culture and natural resources. I admired the work of local churches and community leaders who find ways to respond to the humanitarian crisis caused by decades of armed conflict… In accordance to our 24th General Synod, we call our churches to support the humanitarian and peace work of our Colombian brothers and sisters. Days of Prayer and Action is a great way to get involved. Engage your faith community in this important event for peace in Colombia”. Rev. Mike Neuroth, United Church of Christ, Cleveland, OH

Learn about some faith communities' solidarity initiatives with the people of Colombia:

Baptist

Disciples of Christ

ecumenical

Presbyterian

Roman Catholic

United Church of Christ

Share the DOPA Facebook page

September 20, 2019: Undeterred - film and discussion about Arizona/Sonora border
5-6:30pm
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University, 1801 Euclid Ave., Cleveland

Undeterred is a documentary about community resistance in the rural border town of Arivaca, Arizona. Since NAFTA, 9/11 and the Obama and Trump administrations, border residents have been on the front-lines of the humanitarian crisis caused by increased border enforcement build up. Undeterred is an intimate and unique portrait of how residents in a small rural community, caught in the cross-hairs of global geo-political forces, have mobilized to demand our rights and to provide aid to injured, oft times dying people funneled across a wilderness desert. The film was made by Eva Lewis, a resident of Arivaca and long time member of People Helping People in the Border Zone (PHP). Undeterred was created in close collaboration with the Arivaca community and members of PHP.

Please spread the word about the Midwest tour of this film:

Sep 11 - Denison University

Sep 12 - Depauw University

Sep 17 - Earlham College

Sep 18 - College of Wooster

Sep 19 - Oberlin College

Sep 20 - Cleveland State University

Read more here.

September 21, 2019 to September 22, 2019: IRTF fair trade at St. Clarence - North Olmsted
Saturday 4:30-6pm; Sunday 7:45am-1:30pm
St Clarence Church, 30106 Lorain Rd, North Olmsted, OH 44070

Can you help out IRTF for a couple hours at our fair trade booth on Saturday or Sunday, Sep 21-22?

http://ohiofairtrade.com/calendar/saint-clarence-fall-fair-trade-fair-4/

The people of St Clarence are actively putting their church teachings into practice:

-preferential option for the poor and vulnerable

-protecting human dignity

-doing justice

-acting in solidarity

Fair Trade Outreach & Sales

-support the growth of fair trade cooperatives as an alternative economic model

-promote community-to-cooperative relationships between NE Ohio and Latin America

-educate NE Ohioans on policy questions that impact local economies in Ohio, Central America, Mexico and Colombia

 

If you can volunteer for a 2-hour shift at our fair trade booth, please send a message to ohiofairtrade@irtfcleveland.org.

 

September 22, 2019: Ackerman Art + Activism - fundraiser for IRTF
4-7pm
Honeycomb Salon, 6415 Detroit Ave., Cleveland 44102

With a lifetime of photography practice and a longtime commitment to the social justice work of IRTF - The InterReligious Task Force on Central America, photographer Chuck Ackerman opens his first public exhibit with a generous commitment to donate 50% of all art sales to IRTF.

Snacks, wine and beer will be provided at the opening.

A longtime resident of the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood and near west side of Cleveland, Chuck's professional life finds him serving the community through neighborhood revitalization, affordable housing and integrated social services organizations, with additional longtime engagement in Latin American social justice issues, fair trade, refugee and immigrant services and myriad other interests. His photographic subjects focus on simple, intriguing images encountered across the landscapes of our city and his travels.

"If you see something you like at the show and want to buy it that would great," Chuck writes, "but I would be happy for you to come and drop in at the event in any case."

Please join us in supporting Chuck Ackerman's first photography exhibit--and support his work as well as the work of IRTF-Cleveland with your purchases!

*IRTF expresses our *great* gratitude for Chuck's generosity, and that of all patrons of this show.

Please share the Facebook event.

September 23, 2019: Tea Time for Peace
6-7:30pm
Thwing Center Ballroom, 11111 Euclid Ave., Cleveland 44106

 

The public is invited to a community dialogue about getting to know our Muslim neighbors.

Do the voices of fear, hate and separation you hear today concern you? Do you want to be a catalyst for peace?

 

Join us at

Thwing Center Ballroom

Case Western Reserve University

11111 Euclid Ave

Cleveland 44106

 

5:45pm: doors open

6:15: program

 

Let’s talk and listen ... over a cup of tea!

The premise is simple: Come. Have a cup of tea with your Muslim neighbor and learn through human connection.

We invite you to join us in working toward greater understanding and community building.

 

Organizers

CAIR: Council on American-Islamic Relations –Cleveland

InterReligious Council at CWRU

Muslim Student Association at CWRU

Office of Multicultural Affairs at CWRU

Social Justice Institute at CWRU

Contact: SocialJustice@case.edu . (216) 368 7568

 

Parking:

Paid: Severance garage, Ford garage

Free or metered: along Bellflower Rd, East Blvd, Ford Rd

 

September 26, 2019 to September 28, 2019: Latin America film series at BW

 

The BW Festival de Cine Latinoamericano is an initiative by the Spanish program at Baldwin Wallace University, using the artistry of film to build relationships between the BW-Berea community and the Hispanic population of Cleveland's west side.

For further information, contact Dr. Karen Barahona, assistant professor of Spanish, at kbarahon@bw.edu or Dr. Matthew Feinberg, assistant professor of Spanish at feinberg@bw.edu.

FEATURED FILMS

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

Film: "Las Marimbas del Infierno" (Marimbas from Hell)

5:30 p.m. - Room 114, Marting Hall
Filled with laugh-aloud moments, "Marimbas from Hell" is a fresh and unique story of the fusion between tradition and modernity that conveys a moving and authentic sense of Guatemalan life.

Learn More >

Friday, Sep 27, 2019

5:00 p.m. – "Me llamaban el Rey Tigre" (They Call Me King Tiger)
6:30 p.m. – Reception
7:00 p.m. – "7 Cajas" (7 Boxes)

Film: "Me llamaban el Rey Tigre" (They Call Me King Tiger) Mexico / 2017 / 88 Min.

5 p.m. - Room 114, Marting Hall
Dubbed "King Tiger" and "the Malcolm X of the Chicano Movement," Reies López Tijerina inspired Mexican-American college students of the 1960s and 1970s to start the Chicano Civil Rights Movement.

Learn More >

Film: "7 Cajas" (7 Boxes) Paraguay / 2013 / 105 Min.

7 p.m. - Room 114, Marting Hall
A delivery boy dreams of fame and a fancy TV. When he's offered a chance to deliver seven boxes with unknown contents for $100, what sounds like an easy job soon becomes complicated.

Learn More >

Saturday, Sep 28, 2019

5:00 p.m. – Reception

5:30 p.m. – "The Wall"
7:00-7:30 p.m. – Discussion

5 p.m. - Art House Inc., 3119 Denison Ave, Cleveland, OH 44109

Film: "The Wall" United States / 2019 / 55 Min.

A compilation of short films on the current undocumented immigration crisis touching topics such as The Wall, the effects of family separation at the border, deportation and DACA.

Panel discussion with local immigrant advocates, including IRTF, follows the film. Today's program is co-sponsored by the Comité Mexicano of Hispanic Alliance. 

Learn More >

https://www.bw.edu/events/2019/latin-american-film-festival

The Festival de Cine Latinoamericano is made possible with the support of Pragda, SPAIN arts & culture, and the Secretary of State for Culture of Spain.

SPECIAL THANKS

Special thanks to the Baldwin Wallace Hispanic American Student Association (HASA) and Spanish Club.

 

September 28, 2019: The Wall - film and discussion
5-7:30pm
Art House, 3119 Denison Ave., Cleveland 44109

Saturday, Sep 28, 2019

5:00 p.m. – Reception

5:30 p.m. – "The Wall"
7:00-7:30 p.m. – Discussion

location: Art House, 3119 Denison Ave, Cleveland, OH 44109

Film: "The Wall" United States / 2019 / 55 Min.

A compilation of short films on the current undocumented immigration crisis touching topics such as The Wall, the effects of family separation at the border, deportation and DACA.

Panel discussion with local immigrant advocates, including IRTF, follows the film.

Today's program is co-sponsored by the Comité Mexicano of Hispanic Alliance. 

Learn More >

https://www.bw.edu/events/2019/latin-american-film-festival

September 28, 2019 to September 29, 2019: IRTF fair trade at Tremont Arts & Cultural Festival - Cleveland
Saturday 12-7, Sunday 12-5
Lincoln Park, Tremont neighborhood, Cleveland 44113

Can you help out IRTF for a couple hours at our fair trade booth in Tremont on Saturday or Sunday, Sep 28-29?

Tremont Arts and Cultural Festival

location: Lincoln Park, Tremont neighborhood, Cleveland 44113

Host: Tremont West Development Corporation

 

About this event:

SAT, SEP 28, 2019, 12-7pm

SUN, SEP 29, 2019, 12-5pm

This festival celebrates the cultural and artistic diversity of Tremont and the greater Cleveland area, and supports the endeavors of its visual and performing artists. The event includes over 130 vendors featuring artist selling their paintings, sculptures, jewelry, etc.; live music and dance performances; beer & wine garden; children’s village, and more.

Now in its 21st year, the 2019 Tremont Arts and Cultural Festival is comprised of five Festival Villages:

  • Children’s Village: hand-on arts, historical, and educational projects;
  • Community Village: area non-profit organizations presenting material about their mission and services, along with local, independent merchants and vendors;
  • Cultural Village: food sales by Tremont and Greater Cleveland restaurants , and fair trade merchants and non-profits reflecting the ethnic diversity of the neighborhood and region;
  • Artists’ Village: sales of painting, sculpture, fiber, fine jewelry, glass, wood, ceramics, graphics, and photographs created by Tremont and northeast Ohio artists. Within the Artists’ Village are our special 2019 gallery and program – Focus on the Artists: Freedom and Love – A Celebration of LGBTQ Artists – as well as a return of our special gallery and program –  Focus on the Artists: Sin Fronteras/Beyond Borders – A Celebration of Latino Artists;  

The Festival has free music and dance performances Saturday and Sunday on the TACF Main Stage located in the Beer & Wine Garden.

 Free and open to the public. See event info here.

 

IRTF Fair Trade Outreach & Sales

-support the growth of fair trade cooperatives as an alternative economic model

-promote community-to-cooperative relationships between NE Ohio and Latin America

-educate NE Ohioans on policy questions that impact local economies in Ohio, Central America, Mexico and Colombia

If you can volunteer for a 2-hour shift at our fair trade booth, please send a message to ohiofairtrade@irtfcleveland.org.

Thanks in advance!

 

 

October 3, 2019: Immigrant Defense Vigil
4-5pm
Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building, 1240 E. 9th St. (at Lakeside), downtown Cleveland

[First Thursday vigils: Sep 5, Oct 3, Nov 7, Dec 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 have been gathering on Thursday afternoons outside the ICE office in Brooklyn Heights since September 2018. Why? To pray, sing, hold silence, and exhort those in power to change their ways, and instead, work from a place of justice and compassion. We name the reality of families being separated by immigration practices. We gather to raise visibility to the intense difficulty faced by thousands of families, not only on the US-Mexico border but in Ohio as well. We pray that God’s intervention, power, grace, and comfort enter into these situations of suffering and despair.

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.

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!

Questions? 

Check with irtf@irtfcleveland.org

(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.

 

October 5, 2019 to October 6, 2019: Volunteers Needed: IRTF fair trade at St Hilary - Fairlawn
Saturday, 12-6pm; Sunday 8:30am-1:30pm
St. Hilary Catholic Church, 2750 W. Market St, Fairlawn OH 44333

Can you help out IRTF for a couple hours at our fair trade booth on either Saturday or Sunday, Oct 5-6?

 

About this event:

Help us to support the growth of fair trade cooperatives as an alternative economic model ! Each year we are able to generate thousands of dollars in direct support to artisan and farmer cooperatives because of the hundreds of volunteer hours that our supporters share with us at fair trade booths. Stop by and visit. Our volunteer for a 2-hr shift: OhioFairTrade@irtfcleveland.org 

The people of St Hilary are actively putting their church teachings into practice:

-preferential option for the poor and vulnerable

-protecting human dignity

-doing justice

-acting in solidarity

Fair Trade Outreach & Sales

-support the growth of fair trade cooperatives as an alternative economic model

-promote community-to-cooperative relationships between NE Ohio and Latin America

-educate NE Ohioans on policy questions that impact local economies in Ohio, Central America, Mexico and Colombia

 

If you can volunteer for a 2-hour shift at our fair trade booth, please send a message to ohiofairtrade@irtfcleveland.org.

October 9, 2019: Clone of Fair Food Action Forum - join us!
7-8pm
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 http://ohiofairtrade.com/

October 26, 2019: Ohio Fair Trade Teach-In and Expo
9:30am-3pm
John Carroll University, Dolan Science Center, 1 John Carroll Blvd, University Heights OH 44118

http://ohiofairtrade.com/calendar/ohio-fair-trade-teach-in-expo-2019/

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.

November 3, 2019: Human Rights Banquet: 39th annual Commemoration of the Martyrs of Central America and Colombia
4-8pm
Beaumont School, 3301 N. Park Blvd, Cleveland Heights 44118

TICKETS

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.

 

Schedule

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)

Tickets:

$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

Natalia is based in Bogotá as an organizer with 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.)

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 http://commemoration2019.eventbrite.com

November 13, 2019: Clone of Clone of Fair Food Action Forum - join us!
7-8pm
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 http://ohiofairtrade.com/

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.

From SOAW.org:

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.

Read more at SOAW.org.