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IRTF Events Calendar

May 22, 2019 to May 23, 2019: Food Action Forums - Make Our Food System Fair!

Wednesday, May 22, 7-8:30pm at Market Garden Brewery, 1947 W 25th St., Cleveland OH 44113

Building Alternative Supply Chains through Film

Hosted by Equal Exchange and Market Garden Brewery

Understanding truth in our food system in today's globalized world is no longer as simple as a label. The choices we make about our food are controlled by large conglomerates. Join Equal Exchange Organizer Emily Ambrose for a viewing of a few short Equal Exchange original films and discussion. What is an alternative supply chain? What does it look like to actually build one? Equal Exchange has been a pioneer in this work for over 30 years, join us for light refreshments, beer, and a discussion on how you can be a part of building a better world. Please RSVP to

Facebook event:

Thursday, May 23, 6-7:30pm at Equal Exchange warehouse, 23400 Aurora Rd, unit #4, Bedford Heights, OH 44146.

What is an Alternative Trade Organization?

Equal Exchange is one of the largest worker owned cooperatives and alternative trade organizations in existence today. Please join us for a discussion around the history and evolution behind alternative trade and equitable supply chains and what rebuilding a successful ATO looks like in the nearing 2020s. We'll also be discussing our annual summit gathering happening this June! Light refreshments provided 
RSVP: Emily Ambrose
May 23, 2019: Jobs with Justice awards dinner
DoubleTree Hotel, 1111 Lakeside Ave., Cleveland OH 44114

To sit at the IRTF dinner table, please email or call 216.961.0003

Thursday, May 23, 2019. 5-8pm

5pm - check-in, raffle, live music, cocktail hour with cash bar

6pm - dinner and program 

The Cleveland Jobs with Justice Annual Spring Celebration is the time we take to celebrate our victories and recognize our activists who have been champions of workers and social justice throughout the Cleveland area over the past year. We are honored to announce our 2019 award winners:

Brian Poindexter, Ironworkers Local 17 and City Council at Large, Brook Park, OH(Louis B. Stokes Award)

Anne Hill, community activist and former labor leader (Smilnak-Rosen Award)

Steve Holecko, retired teacher and community activist


M.C. for this event: Alex Bevan

We're excited have jazz-great Alex Bevan (Cleveland Federation of Musicians Local 4) as our M.C. this year. First known as "The Skinny Little Boy" from Cleveland, Alex will provide entertainment during the cocktail hour, and will then emcee the program.   

Keynote Speaker: Rollie Dreussi

Rollie Dreussi, Executive Secretary, Northeast Ohio Newspaper Guild - CWA, Local 1, will talk about one of the local labor fights that has been ongoing over the last couple of years in Cleveland.

Special address: Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-9)


Get your tickets or become a sponsor in our program book here!

Like and follow Cleveland Jobs with Justice on  Facebook: 

May 23, 2019 to May 30, 2019: Interfaith Prayer Vigil to Protest Immigration Enforcement Policies
ICE processing office, 925 Keynote Circle, Brooklyn Heights, OH

WHAT: Interfaith Prayer Vigils to Protest ICE Policies

WHERE: ICE processing office, 925 Keynote Circle, Brooklyn Heights, OH

WHEN: Thursdays, 4:00-4:45pm

WHY: To show the love, concern, and compassion that people of faith have for immigrants who are suffering under the harsh policies of ICE.


A group of clergy—Islamic, Jewish, Christian, other-- and others concerned for immigrants in our community have been organizing weekly interfaith prayer vigils at the Immigration, Customs & Enforcement (ICE) office on Thursday afternoons since September 2018.

At these vigils we pray, sing, hold silence, lift up prophetic values of justice and compassion, and exhort those in power to work from that set of values. Each week in prayer, we name the reality of families being separated by immigration practices. We pray that God’s intervention, power, grace, and comfort enter into these situations of suffering and despair.

Leaders and members of Islamic, Jewish, and Christian faith congregations gathered last fall and talked about what kind of public presence they would want to do together. The weekly vigils began the following week: to bear witness to inhumane treatment being perpetrated on many immigrant communities, and to hold them in the light of hope.

We are fortunate to find many neighbors around Cleveland who share our belief that faithfulness requires prophetic action in situations where abuse of power and great suffering exist.  Joining together in these weekly vigils is a step of prophetic faith witness.

Please join us each Thursday if you are able. All people of faith and conscience are welcome. Your presence matters!



Check with

(216) 961 0003 IRTF office

May 24, 2019: Join us for Equal Exchange 2019 Summit
Wheaton College in Norton, MA

Join our community for two days of workshops, celebration, and planning as we advance our vision of building a better food system, together.

Keynote Speaker: Santiago Paz López
Santiago is the export manager at NorAndino Cooperative (formerly Cepicafe) located in the Piura region of Peru. What started out as a small group of coffee growers in the mountains of Peru has grown into a cooperative that produces far more than just coffee today.

Join the movement to reclaim the food system –to make it better for farmers, consumers, and the earth.


We are excited to share with you two exciting presenters at this
years’ Citizen-Consumer Summit. You may have heard, this year we are
asking our base to engage in two solidarity campaigns: Behind the
Barcodes, led by OXFAM, and the Food and Agribusiness Moratorium and
Antitrust Review Act, led by the Organization of Competitive Markets. We
admire both of these organizations and are excited to have leaders share
their work this June that addresses issues in the food system.

BACKGROUND on why this summit is being called

Equal Exchange was founded 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 NGO’s. Because of this isolation, ATO’s are
under grave threat for the future—at risk of not surviving the market in the
next ten to fifteen years.
How are we, Equal Exchange, one of the most successful ATO’s in the
global north, thinking about our future? What is our plan to try to survive
and prosper in this next period? How will we need to change to increase
our odds of success?
We believe our path to success includes bringing our supporters, citizen-consumers,
more deeply into our organization to foster real and direct
solidarity with our small farmer partners and our growing co-operative
network. We are forging the path as we walk it and your participation in
our June summit is a vital piece of this vision.

For More Information visit:

May 25, 2019 to May 26, 2019: Fair Trade Festival at Church of the Gesu - IRTF Fair Trade table
Church of the Gesu 2470 Miramar Blvd University Heights, OH 44118

IRTF Fair Trade Sale at the

Church of the Gesu 

2470 Miramar Blvd

University Heights, OH 44118

The Church of the Gesu is hosting their annual Fair Trade Festival in the church’s McAuley Hall on May 25th and 26th, where folks will be able to shop for gifts in between services. Come help out at our sales table and meet Gesu congregation members and guests, as well as other Fair Trade vendors from NE Ohio! 

Can you help promote fair trade for a couple of hours on May 25 or 26? If so, please see the schedule of shifts  below.


Saturday, May 25, 2019 



Sunday, May 26, 2019 







About IRTF fair trade

IRTF works towards justice and equity in the distribution, access to, and participation in the production and consumption of the world’s resources for the people of Central America and Colombia. The conventional trade model is accelerating a race to the bottom that hurts workers, consumers, and the environment. Moreover, it further divides us into “haves” and “have nots.” As an alternative model, fair trade sets a series of standards to ensure fair wages and human dignity for producers, community investment, environmental sustainability, and more. 

IRTF’s fair trade program generates thousands of dollars in much needed income for artisans and farmers in Latin America.  This happens through the generous invitations of schools, community groups, and congregations that offer us table space at 40-50 events each year. Fair trade is an important part of IRTF’s human rights mission: to call together people in NE Ohio to walk in solidarity with oppressed peoples of Central America and Colombia to achieve peace, justice, human rights and systemic transformation through nonviolence.

IRTF Fair Trade Outreach & Sales Tables:

-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


About some of IRTF’s fair trade products

The items that IRTF sells are handcrafted by worker-owners of fair trade cooperatives in southern Mexico (Nahua people of Guerrero), Central America and Colombia.

Here is a sampling of some of the products:

Colombia (tagua jewelry, wire yarn animals)

El Salvador (coconut shell jewelry, painted wood products, crocheted purses)

Guatemala (beaded key chains, ornaments, earrings, headbands; wallets, handbags)

Mexico (silver jewelry)

Honduras (some earrings)

The cooperatives are small businesses, worker-owned, mostly by women. They set their own hours and working conditions.  Most importantly, they pay themselves a living wage (in the local context), but still live in poverty.

Because they earn a living wage, their children don’t have to drop out of school to help support the family. So fair trade is also helping the next generation as well.

By selling handmade crafts, we highlight the importance of fair trade as a just alternative to corporate-led globalization, which is shutting out small producers.

Price range of items

$4-10: small clay bobble-head animals, wire yarn animals, hacky sacks, finger puppets, beaded key chains, beaded holiday ornaments, friendship bracelets, snap leather bracelets, barrettes, wallets

$10-20: wallets, small purses, handbags, coconut shell earrings, silver earrings, silver bracelets, silver rings, novelty items (e.g., Minions)

$20-30: wallets, purses, handbags, laptop covers

$30-40: purses, handbags, messenger bags

June 1, 2019: Guatemala Solidarity - NISGUA is looking for committed activists

(rolling deadline until positions are filled)

NISGUA is looking for committed activists who are passionate about transnational movements for justice and self-determination to join our team! Opportunities are available in both our Oakland and Guatemala City offices.

U.S. Operations & Programs Coordinator

The U.S. Operations & Programs Coordinator will work from our Oakland office. 

Our new team member will be responsible for U.S. base-building and program development, including coordinating the U.S. side of all cross-border exchange activities. The U.S. Operations & Program Coordinator will also lead grassroots fundraising initiatives together with the U.S. Director, as well as carry out the organization’s financial administration. 

Anticipated Start Date: June 10, 2019

Guatemala Accompaniment Project (GAP) Coordinator

The GAP Coordinator will work from our Guatemala City office. This new team member will ensure that Guatemalan partner organizations receive effective international accompaniment through the coordination of GAP, a transformative accompanier/fellowship program.

Coordinating GAP will include selection, training, and political education for accompaniers and fellows, who act as organizers to catalyze our U.S. base to take action in the cross-border struggle for justice. The GAP Coordinator will liaise with a network of U.S-based Sponsoring Communities who partner with accompaniers to financially and politically support their work. They will also work in collaboration with NISGUA’s Strategic Planning Committee to evaluate and implement new modalities for accompaniment.

Anticipated Start Date: June 16, 2019

NISGUA is an equal opportunity employer and inclusive organization.
People of Indigenous/Central American identity/descent, multiracial/POC, poor/working class, and queer people are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so apply today!

June 17, 2019 to June 19, 2019: Poor People's Moral Action Congress
Trinity Washington University
Washington D.C.

During the Poor People's Moral Action Congress, we will launch the Poor People’s Campaign Moral and Constitutional Budget, hold a National Freedom School, and invite Presidential candidates for a forum on our demands and budget. We plan to visit Capitol Hill during the Congress and have requested a hearing at Congress. 

The IRTF will be taking a delegation to the PPC Moral Action Congress. If you are interested in traveling with us to the Congress, please contact Chrissy Stonebraker-Martinez.

For more information regarding the Congress, visit the Poor People's Moral Action Congress site or on their Facebook page. We hope to see you there.

To learn more about the movement, visit the webpages for Poor People's Campaign, Organize Ohio's End Poverty Now campaign, and Ohio Poor People's Campaign web pages.

June 20, 2019 to June 22, 2019: 2019 Annual Equal Exchange Summit
Wheaton College
Norton, MA

Equal Exchange has hosted an annual gathering bringing together worker-owners, farmer partners and you! We believe you are an integral part of this movement and need your participation to succeed. Join our community for two days of workshops, celebration, and planning as we advance our vision of building a better food system, together.

The IRTF will be taking a delegation to the EE Summit. If you are interested in traveling with us to the Congress, please contact Chrissy Stonebraker-Martinez.

For more information regarding the Summit- including an informational webinar and a bio of the Keynote Speaker, Santiago Paz López- visit the 2019 Annual Equal Exchange Summit site page or their event Facebook page. We hope to see you there.

June 26, 2019 to July 6, 2019: Christian Peacemaker Teams Delegation to Colombia
El Magdalena Medio Region

International English Speaking Delegation

El Magdalena Medio is a region rich in renewable and non-renewable natural resources. Due to its richness and strategic position in the country, the city of Barrancabermeja and the Magdalena Medio region have suffered high levels of violence. Massacres and forced displacements left whole communities uprooted where criminal interests took advantage to take the lands and develop their economic projects.

Armed groups and paramilitaries control Barrancabermeja and the region. High levels of unemployment and poverty have created a situation where young people see no other options but to get involved with these groups. When judicial efforts to evict communities from their lands do not work, paramilitary groups are used to threaten them.

Join our delegation to learn how national agrarian policies of development violate the human rights of campesinxs.* Delve into the history of the armed conflict and learn how its legacy continues to haunt campesinxs through violence and lack of access to fair judicial processes.

Listen to their stories and songs of resistance and be inspired to to take solidarity action.

Some physical rigors are involved in most CPT delegations, such as hiking in mud and heat or mountains, hours-long trips by boat or truck, and generally long days.

For more information and access to the application process, visit the CPT webpage for Delegations to Colombia. IRTF will not be traveling with this delegation but we greatly appreciate the work of CPT and are happy to promote this opportunity to you, our community.

*Small farmer. The 'x' is used for gender inclusivity.

June 29, 2019: Waterloo Arts Fest
Cleveland on Waterloo Rd between E.161st St and Calcutta Ave

The 17th Annual Waterloo Arts Fest is Saturday, June 29, 2019 from 12:00pm to 7:00pm and features more than 40 local bands playing a great mix of music, local handmade art vendors, CLE’s best food trucks, and an exciting mix of innovative and interactive art experiences for all ages. At the Waterloo Arts Fest, you can roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty and give art a try.

This community event is produced by Waterloo Arts, a nonprofit art center whose mission is to enrich the neighborhood culturally and economically by creating a stimulating arts environment through exhibits, performances, special events, and educational programming for people of all ages. In addition to orchestrating this festival, Waterloo Arts manages an art gallery, public art projects, a community arts center and artist studios.

More information :