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International Solidarity and Advocacy
By Shannon Duncan Bodwell
January 24th, 2013
In addition to Grassroots International’s role as a grantmaker to social movements across the world, we also understand that financial support alone does not bring about change.
We hear about the dire consequences of misdirected U.S. trade and agriculture policies from our partners around the world – hunger, water and land shortages, environmental degradation, and climate disruption. We are also able see to how organized communities are challenging these problems and offering up effective solutions. Finally, we know that the struggle for social change and justice brings activists into direct confrontation with powerful forces that threaten human rights and livelihoods.
This is why Grassroots advocates for policy changes in the U.S. and seeks to encourage decision-makers around the globe to recognize and uphold the human rights of small farmers, indigenous peoples and those struggling to protect the environment. This advocacy work gives our supporters a chance to join robust social movements in demanding justice and creates solidarity across borders.
In the past year, our global partners have sounded a call for justice, and our supporters have answered it, again and again. On behalf of Grassroots and our partners, thank you! This year’s actions spanned the globe to stand in solidarity with communities in Haiti, Honduras, Palestine, Sri Lanka and even here in the U.S.
Below are two examples of how powerful these international solidarity actions can be.
The Landless Workers Movement (MST) asked for help to protect the families of the Serro Azul encampment who are asserting their Constitutional right to occupy underutilized farmland in Pernambuco, Brazil. Through two Grassroots International email campaigns more than 1,900 of our supporters sent more than 13,500 messages to UN and Brazilian authorities. This outcry helped pressure the state governor to visit MST headquarters where he expressed concern for the families’ situation and demanded prompt action to end the violence and speed up their land rights due process.
Employees of our partner the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) were being detained, held without charges and denied legal representation by the Israeli Defense Forces – all because of their work defending Palestinians’ fundamental rights to land, water and food. Response to this call to action resulted in 8,740 emails being sent to the U.S. and Israeli decision-makers. These letters, along with those of other supporters of human right defenders, prompted the release of two UAWC employees in September.
This advocacy depends on the support of our online community. If you haven’t already joined, please sign up today. If you are a member of our online community, thank you for your support and please help spread the word by sharing this with your social networks! You can also follow us on Twitter and “fan” us on Facebook.