Report Back Event on Cuba, Venezuela & Mexico, Jan. 15th, 2017 – Los Angeles, CA (+ English language flyer)

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More than 200 Zapatistas participated in the (Con)ciencias International Gathering in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas to interrogate and challenge science while also looking to infuse their ancestral ways with scientific strategies to overcome the negative effects of climate change in their communities and the greater world (Radio Zapatista).

Revolutionary Process in the Americas (English language event flyer)

Bilingual Event (English/Spanish)

SUNDAY January 15, 2017

4:00-6:00pm, doors open at 3:30pm

La Casa Roja, 1251 S St. Andrews Place Los Angeles, CA 90019

*Suggested donation of $5 -10, no one will be turned away for lack of funds*

*Books, Artisanal Goods & more for sale* & *Light refreshments will be provided*

Join Witness for Peace Southwest for our first 2017 event with a special night of report backs focusing on the revolutionary struggles in Cuba, Venezuela and Chiapas, Mexico.

Aracely Barboza Cabral is a queer woman of color from East LA with Mexican roots & 14 years of organizing experience. Last November, Aracely participated in a people of color delegation to Cuba with Witness for Peace. Aracely and other delegates learned firsthand about the island nation’s achievements in social justice, education, healthcare and the transition from capitalism to another, more just people based economy. Delegates also mourned alongside the Cuban people after physical loss of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.  This event celebrates Cuba’s revolutionary spirit.

Jeanette Charles, Witness for Peace Southwest regional organizer, recently returned from Venezuela and Chiapas, Mexico where movements are challenging capitalism and US intervention. Venezuelans continue to define Bolivarian Revolution and 21st Century Socialism on their own terms amidst historically US supported right wing opposition attacks. Communes, cooperatives and collectives based on food sovereignty, worker-led initiatives and focused on people rather than profit have taken shape across the country.

On January 1, 2017 the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) made an historic announcement to create a parallel government and launch an independent 2018 presidential campaign with an Indigenous woman as their representative. This news comes 23 years after the EZLN uprising as well as this new chapter in their autonomy and people’s power. The EZLN also organized an international gathering, (Con)ciencias (With the Sciences/Consciousness) which posed a direct challenge to scientists globally to find solutions the world needs to resolve climate change and militarized, capitalist science and technology.

For more information: Jeanette Charles, 805.669.8482, jcharles.wfpsw@gmail.com or wfpsw@witnessforpeace.org

2017 Delegations Announcement, Part 1 (+ flyers)

Join Witness for Peace Southwest on two delegations in 2017 to Honduras! Look out soon for additional announcements for delegations to Cuba and other locations across Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Radical Organizing Across Difference: Alternative Spring Break in Honduras

March 17th -26th 2017, Delegation Flyer

The Honduran resistance movement makes up a wide variety of grassroots organizations that are committed to creating alternatives in their country. African descendants, indigenous, women, students, union workers, alternative media outlets and other sectors of Honduran society have taken a courageous stand against the 2009 coup, corruption, impunity and injustice. Their organizing spans generations and their determination to build a more just and equitable society is inspiring.

Across movements and difference, Hondurans have come together to defend their country from state violence and corporate exploitation, their right to life and their right to sovereignty. Join Witness for Peace on an alternative spring break delegation to learn more about grassroots struggles as well as strengthen the links between U.S. organizing and Central American realities.

This delegation will:

● Meet with representatives of grassroots delegations across a variety of organizing sectors.

● Learn about the ways different groups have built coalitions across movements and the country to defend their livelihood and to build their people’s power.

● Develop a better understanding and strategize based on first-hand narratives how our communities can stand in solidarity with the Honduran people in their fight against state repression and corporate exploitation.

Cost: $1000 plus airfare from U.S. (Deposit $150 due by January 15th, 2017) Payment due February 20th, 2017). Delegation fee covers all meals, lodging, interpreters, and transportation within Honduras, along with extensive reading and activist tools. Fundraising support and scholarships may be available.

Contact: WFP Southwest Regional Organizer, Jeanette Charles at jcharles.wfpsw@gmail.com or 805-669-VIVA with questions

To apply visit: http://www.witnessforpeace.org/delegations

 

The Fight for Reparations in Honduras

June 25-July 5, 2017, Delegation Flyer

Descendants of the African Diaspora as well as Indigenous peoples across the Caribbean and the continental Americas have historically fought to repair the colonial and imperial wrongs perpetrated against their nations for centuries. In Honduras, the Garifuna, an Afro-indigenous people, have won two unprecedented cases at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in defense of their ancestral rights to land, inherent rights to cultural preservation and their livelihood. These landmark cases have resulted in clear demands for the Honduran state to guarantee the return of all the Garinagu ancestral territories and financial restitution. As Black and Indigenous movements in the US give rise to a new era of organizing, it is a critical time to reflect on shared resistance histories and exchange strategies.

The delegation will:

● Meet with representatives of Honduran Garifuna and Indigenous organizations such as the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH)

● Learn about the inspiring organizing and power that Honduran Garifuna and other indigenous movements have generated through their struggles, amidst oppression by state and economic forces

● Develop a better understanding, from first-hand experience on the ground, of how our communities and organizations stateside can be in solidarity with Honduran grassroots movements and build our own campaigns for reparations

Cost: $1000 plus airfare from U.S. (Deposit $150 due by April 30th, 2016). Full payment due May 20th, 2016. Delegation fee covers all meals, lodging, interpreters, and transportation within Honduras, along with extensive reading and activist tools. Fundraising support and scholarships may be available.

Contact: WFP Southwest Regional Organizer, Jeanette Charles at jcharles.wfpsw@gmail.com or 805-669-VIVA with questions

To apply visit: http://www.witnessforpeace.org/delegations

Witness for Peace (WFP) is a politically independent, grassroots organization. We are people committed to nonviolence and led by faith and conscience. Our mission is to support peace, justice, and sustainable economies in the Americas by changing U.S. policies and corporate practices that contribute to poverty and oppression in Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

On Fidel’s Passing…Words of Solidarity, Words of Hope and Words for the Future

Please find a message from one of Witness for Peace Southwest’s Regional Board members on the physical passing of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and how we in the United States can continue his legacy for justice and humanity. *

“But the ideas of Cuban Communists will remain as proof that on this planet, if you work hard and with dignity, you can produce the material and cultural goods human beings need.” Fidel Castro, Presente

 

Dear Friends,

This is an enormous day, an inevitable day, a sad day, and yet, like Fidel himself embodied….It is also a very powerful day.

When 9/11 happened, and the [US] American people were bewildered, lied to and bamboozled into being clueless to world events. I said, at the time, that when Fidel Castro died, it would be the same. An event of the same enormity has occurred, and sadly, the ignorance and lies in our “media” only distort. They will not clarify nor truly teach.

The whole world’s people will know what just happened. Except the [US] American people.

Fidel Castro, the man, is no longer living. But, he has now with his parting, spread inevitably and profoundly even more deeply into the hearts-and most importantly for communists-into the ACTIONS of millions upon millions of people, in [the] America[s] and all over the World.

Derided as “bleeding hearts” during Ronald Reagan’s wars against poor farmers in Central America, we will humbly, yet proudly answer, Yes. That is called human, to care for, and to bleed for others. Humus. Earth. Connected, without apology or equivocation.

Che’s words of revolution, of humanity ring clear to me now: “Y seremos millones”…and we will be millions…That we are, today. No lies, no mendacity, no fascist, cruel bullsh**t will be allowed in our spaces. We will stand up to it all. We will study war no more. Ever.  

We do not argue with the arguers. We do not appease the fascists, anywhere, in any heart or in any action. We will name you. We will out you. We will resist you. And we will build and show Another Way. Because we have seen it.

And we will all win because:

People, in the end, can’t drink fracked water.

People, in the end, can’t survive the endless murder of each other.

People, in the end, can’t eat radioactive food.

People, in the end, can’t thrive on hate.

People, in the end, have to answer to their children.

People, in the end, will choose survival over lies.

Life, you will see, will [defeat] Trump Capitalism. Amen.

And of course, too, people in the end cannot do what Nature does: Sustain us all on this gorgeous Planet, in this gorgeous space called Life.

Nature Bats Last.

Fidel knew that. In his last, lovely years his focus was on Planet Earth, and on what we as people need to do to survive on [the earth]. He focused on three main themes, as I saw it: Nuclear war, climate change, and…growing food. In fact, in several of his last meetings with world leaders, sustainable (ie, life-sustaining) agriculture was his main concern and topic of conversation. Imagine that. What a terrorist.

Fascism is derived from the Italian word meaning division. There is no division on Earth, only Unity. That was Fidel’s magic, to see that unity and to fight for it until his last, lovely god-given breath. Yes, god, little g…a “g” that belongs to all of us, that excludes no one.

Fidel, history has absolved you. You left a country that is a beacon of resistance and hope and humanity that, despite the Empire’s blockade, too many of us have seen with our own eyes…and the cat, as they say, is out of the bag…

We have been teaching, and we will continue to teach, to “red” and “blue” alike. And, we are unstoppable.

In my master’s thesis on Cuba’s Energy Transition, I quote philosopher Emmanuel Kant: The Actual Proves the Possible. Cuba’s example has proven to us:

Another World is Possible.

So I do not lose heart. I am sad today, of course. But emboldened and very, very grateful for my understanding, my knowledge and my ability to serve.

Never Fear, Fidel Was Here

Fidel, Presente!

Paz

Rachel Bruhnke

Founder, CUSSP Cuba-US Sustainability Project

Witness for Peace Southwest Regional Board Member

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Fidels-Last-Speech-20161126-0005.html

*All images can be found on On Cuba’s facebook page. 

Venezuela Solidarity Event in Portland, OR (+video)

In case you weren’t able to catch WfPSW on tour in October, please catch this entire presentation captured on film from Portland, OR. Here, speakers Maria Gabriela Del Pilar Blanco and Paola Martucci Gomez speak to the current political, social and economic challenges facing the Bolivarian Revolution including a recent opposition led attempt to coup democratically elected President Nicolás Maduro!

Videos, Pictures and Links to: WfP Southwest 2016 Speaker’s Tour w/ Venezuelan Organizers

In October, Witness for Peace Southwest toured with organizers Maria Gabriela Del Pilar Blanco and Paola Martucci Gomez of the Revolutionary Sex and Gender Diversity Alliance (ASGDRe) from Venezuela. These two young queer women shed light on the current political, economic and social conditions facing Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution. We toured five states across the West including: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. We stopped in eleven cities and towns and hosted events with dozens more organizations, autonomous spaces and universities. Check out some pictures from our speaker’s tour! You can also review here 20+ videos of greetings from across the Southwest with organizers and organizations we visited in addition to SW’s reflections during the tour. Shortly, we’ll be posting a list of resources, other materials and actions that you can take to stand in solidarity with the people of Venezuelan and larger Latin American liberation movements. FMI: jcharles.wfpsw@gmail.com

FALL SPEAKER’S TOUR PUBLIC EVENTS

Join Witness for Peace Southwest and Venezuelan organizer María Gabriela Del Pilar Blanco for a series of discussions about the current climate in Venezuela. We will be visiting a variety of spaces in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington states. Please see our listing below for confirmed public event dates. Please contact Regional Organizer Jeanette Charles if you are interested in attending and would like more information: jcharles.wfpsw@gmail.com or 805.669.VIVA

Sunday October 2, 2016

“Venezuela y la revolución bolivariana – una conversación con activistas venezolanas”, La Casa Roja, 1251 St. Andrews Place, Los Angeles, California 90019

12-2pm

Women, Gender & Sexuality in Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution”, CIELO galleries/studios3201 Maple Ave, Los Angeles, California 90011

6pm – 830pm

 

Monday October 3, 2016

“People’s Power and Popular Movements in Venezuela”, Scripps College, 1030 N Columbia Ave, Claremont, CA 91711

9:35-10:50am @Scr Hum 105 & 2:45-5:30pm @ Scr Balch 218

 

Wednesday October 5, 2016

“Sexuality, Gender Diversity and Feminism in the Americas”, California State University Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St, Northridge, CA 91330

2-3:15pm @ Room JR 319

 

Thursday October 13, 2016

Indigenous Rights Center, ABQ, NM more details TBA

 

Tuesday October 18, 2016

“Venezuela: Queer Liberation and the Bolivarian Revolution”, The Eric Quezada Political Education Center, 518 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

7-9pm

 

Thursday October 20, 2016

Napa Valley, CA public event, more details TBA

 

Saturday October 22, 2016

“Una al margen: documentary about being trans in Venezuela” Comalito Collective, 302 Georgia Street, Vallejo, CA 94590

discussion at 6:30pm (documentary screenings throughout the day starting at 1pm)

 

Sunday and Monday October 23 & 24, 2016

Portland, OR & Seattle, WA Public Events, more details TBA

 

Tuesday October 25, 2016

“Building People’s Power in Venezuela: LGBTQ and Women’s Perspectives on the Bolivarian Process” California State University, Los Angeles 5151 State University Drive Los Angeles, CA 90032

3-:430 pm @ KH B 3008

 

Support Solidarity Across the Americas

Witness for Peace Southwest Speaker’s Tour! Three weeks until we take off!

This year’s annual tour is slated with María Gabriela Pilar del Blanco, member of the Venezuelan Sex and Gender Diversity Revolutionary Alliance (ASGDRe). We will be touring 3 states: California, Arizona and New Mexico. We will visit at least 10 cities and towns across the region. We have organized public events and organizers’ exchanges at more than 20 organizations, schools and community spaces combined. If you’re interested in hosting an event with us please contact me as dates and locations are filling up. Our tour begins October 1st and we close out October 29th.

To achieve all this work, we need your support.

Witness for Peace Southwest is a grassroots donations’ driven organization. Speaker’s tour is vital for our region to thrive, inspire and sustain solidarity across the Americas. 

Your donations three weeks before the tour starts on October 1st, will go toward logistical support for the tour:

Transportation:

Bus fare – tickets range in price from local buses to inter-regional buses. Help move us around Los Angeles County and from Phoenix, Arizona to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Flights – because of the geographical expanse of the tour, we will need to make at least one domestic flight! One way tickets average at approximately $120

Food:

Help keep our speaker’s tour team nourished! We’re asking our home-stays and co-sponsoring organizations to help cover most major meals but snacks, on the road pit stops and occasional meals we need help to cover.

Honorarium:

For all our tours, we make a contribution to our speakers and the organizations they come from. While WfPSW is not a charitable organization, we do believe that grassroots solidarity through economic sustainability initiatives is important and often times, necessary.

In the long term:

Your donation helps facilitate organizing to build and strengthen solidarity across the Americas. You’re supporting face to face exchanges between communities in the US and Latin America and the Caribbean at the forefront of transformative political, social and economic change. Your dollars fund organizational development to build campaigns against detrimental US foreign policy and destructive US corporate practices.

How to make a donation: 

You can make an online donation here or by calling in your credit card number to (805) 669-VIVA (8482). Donations can also be mailed to WFPSW PO Box 1781 Ojai, CA 93024.

You can donate online safely and securely through our PayPal account. You do not need a PayPal account to donate. Click on the Donate Button and follow the PayPal instructions for your donation. Any questions contact wfpsw@witnessforpeace.org or jcharles.wfpsw@gmail.com

Who is this year’s speaker? What organization does she represent? 

ASGDRe is a collective spread across Venezuelan national territory focused on building consciousness about the LGBTQ struggle in Latin America and the Caribbean. Their organization recently celebrated 7 years since its founding and has worked with a wide variety of national and international grassroots movements. Their work spans political education workshops, cultural events, literary publications, social consciousness raising, food sovereignty projects and movement building within the Bolivarian process.  Gaby will also discuss the current status of legal rights for the LGBTQ community and current campaigns to continue transforming Venezuelan society supported by the inclusionary political framework of the Bolivarian Process.

Gaby is originally from Higuerote, Venezuela an Afro-Venezuelan town. Currently, ASGDRe has membership in Lara, Táchira, Mérida and Miranda states. Gaby will speak to the current political, economic and social climate in Venezuela and share her personal experiences as an organizer within the Venezuelan queer community. The framework for her presentations, exchanges and talks will focus on people’s power, popular movement narratives and the realities that communities face on the ground – their achievements, their challenges and their alternatives. Gaby’s presentations will also include multi-media materials including video clips, photo stills and other references showcasing the collective’s wide variety of projects.

Any contribution helps from $1, $5, $10, $20 to $100. We need all the support folks can share as we build connections across borders.

In solidarity and in gratitude,

Jeanette, Regional Organizer

Join Us on Delegation!

STAND IN SOLIDARITY AND SEIZE INCREDIBLE DELEGATION OPPORTUNITIES WITH WITNESS FOR PEACE!


Honduras
July 16-25, 2016
Learning from Indigenous and Afro-Indigenous Leaders in the Face of Ecological, Economic and State Violence  

Accompany, learn from, and stand with Honduran social movements resisting violence and oppression by U.S.-backed Honduran state security forces, U.S.- and internationally-funded “development” projects, and neoliberal “free trade” policies since the 2009 U.S.-backed coup d’état.

Colombia Sept. 6-15, 2016.
“Post-Accords is Not Post-Conflict” : Support a Just and Inclusive Peace Process

Despite a historic peace accord, progressive social movements in Colombia advocate for a more integral understanding of peace: sustainable peace with justice, the deconstruction of systems of inequality, impunity, and injustice.

Puerto Rico Nov. 4-12, 2016
Boricua: The Hidden Colony

The fight for Puerto Rican sovereignty is centuries’ old. Currently Puerto Ricans are facing bankruptcy and alarmingly high rates of unemployment. Their status as a U.S. commonwealth leaves them without a vote and voice in their nation’s political future. Learn more about the devastating effects of US foreign policy and colonization in Puerto Rico. Stand in solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico as they continue their fight for their independence against US intervention and militarization.

Cuba  Dec. 27, 2016-Jan 4, 2017
New Years in Havana: Cuban Socialism and Cultural Resilience

Come and learn about Cuba’s social institutions like schools, hospitals and cultural centers on the Revolution’s anniversary of and celebrate their cultural resilience and the New Year! Engage with organic farmers, community organizers, educators and artists. This delegation will also visit museums, galleries, studies and attend Cuban performing artist shows. Expect to learn about the important of arts and culture in Cuban society and its revolutionary development.

TAKE ACTION: 

Youth Delegation Scholarship Fund: If you’d like to contribute to help a young organizer participate in a delegation, you can donate online here.

For more delegation info and/or an application: Please contact either Jeanette Charles or Malia Everette. For additional information about scholarship opportunities and fundraising assistance email jcharles.wfpsw@gmail.com.

Stand in Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution and Learn More about the Afro Venezuelan Struggle this May!

 

AfroVenezuela: History and Culture Delegation

May 21-30, 2016

Before the Bolivarian Revolution, Afro-Venezuelan people and their history were marginalized and erased from Venezuelan society. Along with International Workers’ rights, May also celebrates Afro-Venezuelan history and is full of commemorative events marking the significant political, cultural and social contributions of the African Diaspora and the specific struggles of Afro-descendants in Venezuela. Delegates will meet with grassroots Afro-Venezuelan organizers, cultural leaders and participate in local events while also learning about state institutions that work toward challenging institutional racism. Learn how Afro-Venezuelans have secured significant rights with the Bolivarian Revolution and continue to build an anti-racist Venezuelan society today.

Cost: This delegation fee covers all set-up preparation, 2 meals per day, housing accommodations, interpreters, transportation within the country and a trained delegation coordinator. The feel also covers extensive reading and activist tools before and after the delegation. $1950 excluding international airfare. Deadline: Application with a non-refundable deposit of $150 is due by March 14, 2016. Limited space available—Apply early!

For more information: Jeanette Charles, Witness for Peace Southwest 805-669-VIVA or jcharles.wfpsw@gmail.com or Malia Everette at 415-735-5407 or malia@altruvistas.com. For additional information about scholarship opportunities and fundraising assistance email jcharles.wfpsw@gmail.com or Tanya Hartley at southwestwfp@gmail.com.