Sunday, December 07, 2008

It Has Been Way Too Long

I was blown away to realize I haven't posted since July! It's been an absolute whirlwind getting into this school year, organizing with the Two Rivers Branch of the IWW and CAJA (Community Action for Justice in the Americas). So I thought I'd maybe give a quick update of the things that have been going on lately.

I took 10 students and three parents to Nicaragua with Global Exchange at the beginning of November. The organization that led our tour in Nicaragua was called Matagalpa Tours. I was very impressed with their work.

Some of the highlights of this tour were a two-night homestay in a Fair Trade coffee community called El Roblar; a baseball game with that community's youth; a soccer game with one of the only women's soccer teams in the entire country; visits with Nicaragua's "Civil Coordinator" (equivalent to a human rights expert), unions, women's radio station (La Vos), water and electricity defender; a visit to a "free-trade zone" with sweatshops; a jungle canopy tour; and most powerfully a visit to the municipal dump called La Chureca.

This fall, I was also occuppied with a student retreat to the mountains outside Helena, MT to create a student group called Students for Social Economic and Environmental Justice (SSEEJ). During this retreat the students decided on campaigns to affect change within their own school, including an effort have the school's coffee kiosk become 100% fair trade coffee; an effort to have the school's apparel to become 100% sweatfree; an effort to reduce the amount of the overall energy consumption; and finally, an effort to improve recycling efforts within the school.

Finally, back in October I was very busy helping to organize a speaking tour from Mexico Solidarity Network to Missoula, MT. Carlos Euceda, a community organizer, and Willy Barreno, a film-maker, came through Montana to talk about the recent passage into law of the Merida Initiative that will guarantee nearly $1.4 billion in military aid to Mexico over the next several years. Their tour was very successful and their message reached many Montanans.

All in all, this has been a very busy beginning to another school year, but I hope to be able to give more attention to my blog now.