2017 Global Economic Justice Workshops


Promoting an Anti-Racist, Creation-Friendly Vision of Trade

While much of the narrative in the media on the impacts of trade agreement has focused on the devastating harm on white, working class industrial workers, trade has also harmed people of color in the U.S., our neighbors in the global south, and creation.

As President Trump seeks a renegotiation of NAFTA, who stands to benefit and who stands to lose? Will a renegotiation be based on a foundation of xenophobia, exclusion, and corporate deals? Or will we have a future trade model that protects and benefits communities of color and low-income communities throughout North America? Join us to hear about these legacy trade impacts and hear proposals for an alternative vision that puts human dignity and creation above a racist, xenophobic, and fossil-free friendly trade agenda.


Forging Community Through Alternative Trade

The conventional trade paradigm favors large corporations and commercial commodity processors and brokers. Small farmers who produce coffee, cacao, or other cash crops, have traditionally been victimized by commercial buyers (“coyotes”) who have a monopoly on purchasing and set the prices in a “take it, or leave it” world. Handicraft producers similarly sell their crafts for peanuts to aggregators who supply the tourist or foreign markets and turn carefully crafted products into commodities.

Equal Exchange, A Thread of Hope, and other alternative trade organizations, in solidarity with farming and handicraft communities, have for decades been working to establish an alternative paradigm. This paradigm involves long-term, direct, respectful trade partnerships that promote global solidarity. Local churches and national faith-based organizations have been active and critical partners in these projects. Come hear stories of how these projects have changed lives, how you can start a project in your own faith community, and other ways you can get involved in promoting an alternative trade vision that serves the most vulnerable.


Militarism, Materialism and Racism in our Food System – and Tools for Resistance

Brazilian activist and academic Maria Luisa Mendonca and Action Aid USA campaigner, Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau will explain how large-scale land investments, driven by the products in our pantries, the fuel in our gas tank, and the money in our retirement accounts, cause deforestation and conflict in indigenous communities. Learn about a grassroots campaign targeting TIAA-CREF retirement funds that fuel illegal land grabs in Brazil, palm oil plantations in Guatemala, and soaring land prices in the United States.
Workshop participants will also learn about and try out tools needed to build effective strategies for tackling this or other challenging crises facing our world. We will together explore how developing a Theory of Change and doing power mapping can be foundations for success. Participants will be offered resources to take concrete anti-land grab action and to build effective strategies on the issues that most concern them.


Community Driven Development II: A Just Transition to Clean Energy in the Global South

For centuries, countless communities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America have suffered the consequences of top down development driven by colonialism and energy and resource needs of developed countries. These consequences include theft of territory, destruction of livelihoods, human rights violations, and extermination.
How can we change this broken model to both address energy poverty in poor communities and ensure that they have agency in the process? Hear from an indigenous leader on the harmful impacts of business as usual projects. Brandon Wu from Action Aid will share about some of the exciting work happening to create small scale, decentralized, and community driven renewable energy projects. This strategy can make sure communities maintain land rights, create sustainable livelihoods, encourage community ownership, and protect creation.


Puerto Rico’s Debt and Humanitarian Crisis

Puerto Rico is home to 3.5 million American citizens and a deepening debt and humanitarian crisis with profound implications for its people and for who we are as a country. Nearly 60% of Puerto Rico’s kids live in poverty. Thousands of Puerto Ricans flee for the mainland each year in search of a better life, breaking apart communities and families and further eroding the tax base and the pool of doctors and other professionals willing to work on the island.

In response, Puerto Rico’s religious leaders are working with US religious communities and the interfaith non-profit Jubilee USA to win solutions to the crisis. Their partnership pushed Washington to act to avoid catastrophe – and now the next few months are critical to resolve the crisis. Learn more about Puerto Rico and its crisis and what you can do to help.