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July 8th, 2016
With heavy hearts, Grassroots International mourns the death of Lesbia Yaneth Urquía Urquía, a member of COPINH (Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras), who was brutally killed on July 6, just 4 months after the assassination of Berta Cáceres. Lesbia Yaneth defended the rights of Indigenous communities and opposed the privatization of rivers in La Paz, Honduras. Since the 2009 military coup in Honduras, over 100 environmental activists (including Indigenous Peoples, peasant leaders, and more) have been killed, and thousands criminalized and jailed.
By Carol Schachet
May 25th, 2016
When Ben Achtenberg and his wife Emily joined the Grassroots International delegation to Mexico, he brought his camera and an eye for picture-taking, along with a deep history of engagement with global movements and political activism. You can read more about Ben's observations on his blog (Caring for Survivors of Torture), starting with "Indigenous farmers are protecting a way of life and a vital resource for the future...."
The whole blog appears here, with a snippet below:
Portland is hosting an event [the week of May 9, 2016] that could have a significant impact on the search for Middle East peace. If the United Methodist Church General Conference votes to divest from companies that profit from Israel's occupation, all the mainstream Protestant churches in the U.S. will have taken a principled stand for Palestinian freedom through boycott and divestment, joining the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Church of Christ and others.
Berta Cáceres – indigenous, environmental, and human rights defender and fierce feminist who was assassinated in Honduras on March 3rd, 2016 – was, among so many other things, a mother in resistance. She inherited this from her mother, who was an inspiration to her, and she passed this down to her own daughters and son.
Berta’s mother, Austra Bertha Flores Lopez, worked as a midwife and served as mayor of their town and then governor of their state. She taught her daughter about fighting for justice from the time she was a child. During the period of intense violence of the 1980s, Austra took in and cared for refugees from El Salvador, showing her children what real solidarity looks like.
Right wing forces in Brazil are using all kinds of sneaky tricks to remove the democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff and take power. They have the backing (both official and unofficial) of major corporations, the Brazilian elite and the media (especially the Globo Network who monopolizes media in Brazil.)
This month Grassroots International has been able to make several grants to movements in Honduras that are organizing in response to the assassination of Berta Cáceres, an indigenous environmental leader who was killed on March 3. Plus, we’ve added our voice (and thousands more!) to calls for justice for Berta and her community – and several financiers have pulled out of the controversial dam project threatening the Lenca peoples’ sacred and beloved Gualcarque River.
Indigenous Peoples, women, youth, and diverse grassroots groups around the world have the solutions to our global climate crisis. The Grassroots Climate Solutions Fund finances and amplifies these solutions—to ensure a brighter future for us all.
“We are thrilled to join with sister foundations and move more funding and support to grassroots solutions to climate change,” says Chung-Wha Hong, Executive Director of Grassroots International. “Together our complementary strengths and common resolve can have a greater impact by supporting powerful, community-led and globally minded solutions.”
The Need for Grassroots Solutions
Today is Land Day in Palestine. It’s a day when Palestinians mark with protest the continual expropriation of their land. There is a lot to protest since Palestinians have been losing land for 68 years. For Palestinians, the year 1948 is the year of the Nakba (or catastrophe) during which 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes, and land and hundreds of Palestinian villages were destroyed.
1967 marks the year when the state of Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, the Syrian Golan Heights, and Sinai in Egypt. This year is known to Palestinians as the Naksa (or grief).
Today, Israel continues with relentless plans to annex the Jordan Valley for illegal settlements.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve come to see that solidarity can be a gritty, challenging, dig-deep-into-your-spirit kind of thing. But above all that, solidarity can be dangerous, and it matters.
On Thursday, March 17 movement organizations in Honduras showed the world – and most especially the Honduran government – what solidarity looks like. Fierce. Smart. Unrelenting.
This year Grassroots International is dedicating International Women’s Day – March 8 – to Berta Cáceres, courageous indigenous Lenca leader and coordinator of the Civic Council of Indigenous People’s Organizations in Honduras (COPINH).
Just days ago we learned that Berta was assassinated in her home. A leader in the Lenca community, Berta helped organize a powerful movement to stop the construction of the Agua Zarca dam and to protect the Gualcarque river basin. For more than a year the Lenca people maintained a human blockade to stop trucks from entering the dam construction site and thus halted its construction.