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By Carol Schachet
June 14th, 2016
On Sunday morning, the unthinkable happened… again. A gunman armed with legally acquired assault weapons opened fire on a crowded dance floor in a gay bar in Orlando, Florida. He shot more than 100 people, killing 49, leaving more than 50 with serious physical injuries and the larger community with profound wounds in need of healing as well.
Sadly, violence, murder, intimidation and oppression pervade every country where we work – including the United States. Each instance stands alone in its particulars, but all share tremendous loss, aching hearts and enraging injustice.
In May I participated in the first-ever World March of Women-US Chapter Feminist Organizing School. This training engaged World March of Women-US (WMW-US) member organizations – including Grassroots International -- around issues of feminism and gender justice. For me, this was an exciting opportunity to meet in person many of the women I’d interacted with on conference calls over the past year.
The Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), a member organization of the WMW-US, hosted the training in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
On this Earth Day and every day, Grassroots International is honored and humbled to stand together with the social movements around the world that are most impacted by ecological destruction, and that are at the forefront of struggles for ecological justice. As members of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance and the Climate Justice Alliance, we are proud to share an important report released this week.
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
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a potentially disastrous “trade” deal, fundamentally undermines economic and social equality, environmental protection, and human rights. With Congress poised to vote on the Obama-touted deal, it’s time to expose the false promises of the TPP.
The final TPP text was finally released in November after seven years of secretive negotiations, during which 500 official U.S. trade advisors representing corporate interests had special access and Congress, the public and press were shut out.
By Joel Wainwright
January 22nd, 2016
Like thousands of people committed to climate justice, I traveled to Paris last month to participate in the historic events surrounding the UN climate change meetings (COP-21). There I connected with Grassroots International’s team – including key staff members and representatives from partner organizations from Brazil, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Palestine – and joined in the activities in the ‘climate action zone’.
Palm oil is the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet, with some 50 million metric tons produced annually. High demand for the product is leading to the growth of African Palm plantations in Central America, which, in turn, is fueling environmental destruction, the exploitation of agricultural labor, and the displacement of local peasant farmers by companies often financed by development banks.
Despite all the fanfare, the bottom line from the Paris Agreement is that emissions from fossil fuels will continue at levels that endanger life on the planet, and the trading schemes the agreement promotes will lead to an increase in natural resource grabs.
While government dignitaries engaged in UN climate negotiations (the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, otherwise known as the COP21) we had a chance to participate in 10 days of powerful strategy sessions and actions for climate justice in Paris alongside many of Grassroots International’s Global South partners. We will tell you more about movement proposals and accomplishments soon, but let's start by reviewing the official agreement.
With drums, solidarity, art and action, members of the World March of Women gathered in Cajamarca, Peru this October. This gathering of one hundred women from Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Quebec, United States and Venezuela marked the fourth regional meeting of the World March of Women of the Americas. This also marked the first regional meeting that included representation from the newly formed US chapter of the World March of Women (of which Grassroots International is a member).
The regional meeting consisted of building analysis and strategy, sharing stories and culture, and taking to the streets to march in solidarity with the struggles of the women of Cajamarca.
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: