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By Chung-Wha Hong
December 5th, 2014
I joined the chants of “Black Lives Matter” last night, together with other staff of Grassroots International and several thousand other Bostonians, marching to the steps of the State House. This was my first demonstration since I came onboard as Executive Director of Grassroots International (two days ago!) and solidified the local-global links that are so central to this work.
For me, and for so many others who care about human rights and social justice, the issue goes far beyond Michael Brown or Eric Garner or a litany of other names on a case-by-case basis. The issue is the systemic devaluing of some lives and the protection of others in such a way that benefits some and subjugates others.
By Julia Burke
October 15th, 2014
Ali Abd El Rahman has been in the United States for only a few days, but it’s the longest he’s ever lived without having to go through a military checkpoint.
El Rahman lives in Jerusalem, and as a Palestinian, his actions, resource use, transportation, and work are under Israeli government control. He doesn’t even have a legal passport; the Israeli government issues Jerusalem Palestinians travel documents that require a lot of explanation when he attempts to cross international borders.
Miriam Miranda’s journey from Honduras for the People’s Climate Justice Summit put her on the podium in front of thousands of people in New York this weekend. A leader of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH, a Grassroots International partner), Miriam and her community have been on the front lines of work for climate justice. She boldly told the crowd, “We cannot accept nor perpetuate this supposed development which does not take into account or respect nature and the earth’s natural resources… We should and must have the obligation to leave water, air, food and secure the safety for our sons and daughters and other living things.”
The US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) announced that the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) of Palestine, based in Gaza and the West Bank is a co-recipient of the 2014 Food Sovereignty Prize. UAWC shares the prize with Community to Community Development /Comunidad a Comunidad (C2C) of Bellingham, Washington.
Making the connections between the bombing of Gaza, the ongoing occupation of Palestine, violence faced by black communities in the United States, migrant rights and climate disruption may seem like a tall order. But that is what happened on a recent Learning Call facilitated by Grassroots International co-sponsored by the Climate Justice Alliance, the US Food Sovereignty Alliance and Grassroots Global Justice Alliance. (Grassroots International is a member of and works with these coalitions.)
Listen in by clicking the link here:
During the Engaged Donors for Global Equity (EDGE) conference in Berkeley, Grassroots International facilitated a discussion about the history and vision of social movement struggles for trade justice. Activists and thought leaders from Mexico, the US and the Philippines – including Grassroots’ allies and grantees – shared the first-hand damages of Free Trade Agreements versus the dignity of Trade Justice.
We co-organized the workshop with our allies at International Development Exchange (IDEX). Participants included:
For too many people and communities around the world, the dominant agricultural model is causing economic hardship, the destruction of biological diversity, and the exploitation of earth’s ecological commons. It is a model based on the commodification of life. We can no longer continue the status quo that enables multi-national corporations to corner our food system and our seed commons. Every element that is foundational to life (food, water, land, air) is under threat of privatization and marketization by an economic order that seeks to profit and own our common wealth.
In honor of the International Day of Peasants' Struggle (April 17), the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance today released A Preliminary Report on Seeds and Seed Practices across the US based on surveys of seed savers and seed advocates from around the United States.
Resilience. Defiance. Courage. Those words usually describe Grassroots International’s partners around the world and their stand for human rights in the face of relentless dangers.
But not today.
Today those words apply, too, to our neighbors here in Boston. Runners. Families. Communities that for years have lined the roads from Hopkinton to Copley Square to cheer for strangers.
After going into hospice care, the Rev. Dr. John Fish decided that he wants to distribute some of his lifetime of savings to organizations he believes in while he is still alive because, as he says, “if we are going to achieve social justice, it will have to come from strengthening those on the bottom because it is never going to happen from the top down. And I am so glad I can help. I encourage others to do so also.”
When asked why he so consistently supported Grassroots International over the years and chooses to include Grassroots in his legacy giving, John’s response is both humble and profound.