By Carol Schachet
September 29th, 2010
By Carol Schachet
July 27th, 2010
Some of the most important lessons I know about grassroots organizing come from the poet Wendell Berry, who advises, “Invest in the millennium; plant Sequoias.”
By Alisa Pimentel
Among the almost 20,000 activists gathered in Detroit for the US Social Forum this week are several Grassroots International partners and allies. Grassroots International regularly provides funding to our partners and allies to participate in movement-building and leadership development gatherings.
After tireless campaigning by the indigenous people of Guatemala and international solidarity organizations, including Grassroots International, the Goldcorp Marlin Mine has been ordered to shut by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. This is a huge victory for local Mayan residents who have fought for the past six years to hold Goldcorp accountable for appalling social and environmental problems caused by the mine. Grassroots International supported their struggle for justice by funding indigenous representatives to attend meetings with allies in Canada and the United States as well as hearings at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Thousands of families in Guatemala and Honduras have been left without shelter and food in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Agatha. According to our partners in the region, three days of torrential rain destroyed families’ few possessions and dreams of a bountiful harvest this year. Floods washed away the seeds out of the fields as if they were dry leaves on a rooftop.
Last month, I traveled to Cochabamba, Bolivia for a number of reasons. The main one was to attend the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. Many of Grassroots International’s partners from Latin America, Asia and Africa were also there – some of whom we supported to attend – and it was a great opportunity for me to meet with them and with many of our allies in one central location. They were all at the conference because for them the climate crisis is immediate in its impact and not some theoretical scenario for the future.
Last week, I met with representatives from the National Women’s Commission of the Via Campesina - Guatemala. The Commission comprises women from four different peasant and indigenous organizations. As I entered the small office, I quickly recognized familiar faces from my last meeting with them in 2009, except for one young woman sitting in the corner with an open notebook: Julieta. The new National Coordinator for Women of our partner the National Coordination of Indigenous People’s and Campesinos (CONIC), Julieta is a soft-spoken leader facing the enormous task of coordinating rural women from 475 Mayan communities.
Despite a press release from the office of Senator Jim DeMint yesterday evening declaring that he has secured a commitment from the Obama Administration to recognize the Nov. 29th elections in Honduras regardless of Zelaya’s reinstatement, it is not too late for the Administration to reverse this position and do right by the people of Honduras.
For some, October 12th is commemorated as the day that Christopher Columbus "discovered" the Americas. For many more, it marked the beginning of over 500 years of foreign domination, cultural destruction and systematic exploitation. Over the last 15 years, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has perpetuated that tragic history.
Join with other justice-minded people to use this October 12th to push for the renegotiation and replacement of NAFTA and forge a new history based on mutual respect, human rights, and dignity.