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By Carol Schachet
November 19th, 2015
When two dams owned by transnational mining companies burst in Brazil, a flood of toxic mud and wastewater poured into neighboring villages and began its journey down the Rio Doce (“Sweet River”). This tragedy could have been avoided if companies heeded warnings sounded more than two years ago. Instead, authorities estimate over 2,000 people have been affected in the immediate area of the dam, with more than 600 people evacuated (many rescued by helicopter), hundreds left homeless, and dozens of people who are still unaccounted for feared dead.
Earlier this fall, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation held its 14th annual conference in the city of Atlanta, Georgia. About 400 people from some 93 member groups dedicated to Palestinian rights, including Grassroots International, gathered there to strategize how best to advance our collective work for freedom, justice and equality. Check out videos and pictures of panels, workshops and performances from the conference.
Here are 10 reflections on the weekend:
Grassroots International Condemns Mounting Violence in Israel/Palestine, Calls for End to US Military Aid
Violence in Palestine and Israel continues to intensify, with mounting casualties. Since October 1, 50 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli forces and settlers and 8 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian knife attacks. Additionally an Eritrean Asylum seeker was killed after Israeli soldiers mistook him for a Palestinian.
Scores of people – showing a great diversity of races, ages and backgrounds – packed into the room to look together at the connections between climate justice and Black Lives Matter, and how these movements present themselves in the experiences of Haiti, New Orleans and elsewhere. More people spilled out into the hallway, illustrating how ready people were to hear the powerful words coming from inside: everyone matters and has a role in the struggle for human rights and the survival of the planet.
Grassroots International stands with people on the frontlines of defending the human rights to water, land, and food. Recently, we awarded more than 15 grants to movements in Haiti, Latin America, Palestine, West Africa and India – bolstering the efforts of those leading the global struggle for climate justice and creating sustainable solutions that we can all learn from.
A new report exposes an ugly truth about advertising and deception that really comes as no surprise: Industrial food giants create and fund front organizations to conduct stealth public relations campaigns to downplay the dangers of chemical-intensive agriculture and undermine organic food.
Grassroots International is a member of the Climate Justice Alliance, a collaborative of over 35 community-based and movement support organizations uniting frontline communities to forge a scalable, and socio-economically just transition away from unsustainable energy towards local living economies to address the root causes of climate change. CJA has been developing a unified campaign – the Our Power Campaign – which launched the “Summer of Our Power” this weekend. Below is information about that campaign.
Honduran people are filling the streets in massive demonstrations, outraged over a purported multimillion-dollar theft of social security funds. The scandal involves significant amounts of that money allegedly going to finance the governing political party. The social moments as well as other sectors of civil society have been publically demanding the resignation of the President Juan Orlando Hernandez, and calling for the creation of an international commission to investigate corruption and impunity.
“We stand in solidarity with the people of Susya, who UAWC (Union of Agricultural Work Committees) introduced us to in October 2014. These are people who welcomed us, fed us, gave us a place to sleep and shared their stories with us.
“We gather to bring our voices to the on-going struggle in the face of imminent demolition by the Israeli Military.
Social movements around the world, including Grassroots International partners, take action on World Environment Day (June 5) to highlight the importance of ecological justice. On this day, we are happy to share a video from a recent talk that Grassroots International had the opportunity to be a part of, along with Anim Steel, founder and Executive Director of the Real Food Challenge, and Mark Bittman, New York Times journalist and author.