In this issue of Muste Notes, we share some memories of friends who have left us, a letter from a young supporter and an update on the work of our grantees. We are grateful for your outpouring of support in response to our December appeal. If you haven’t yet contributed, please consider sending a check today or donating online to help sustain our work promoting nonviolent action for a better world.
In February, the Muste Institute Board began working with our tenant groups to establish a tenant advisory committee that will help sort through options as we prepare to move, and strengthen our sheltering program providing affordable office and meeting space for nonviolent social justice organizing.
In March the Muste Institute welcomed Rebecca Libed back to the Board of Directors. Rebecca, who served on the Board in 2003-2004, is director of development for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. We are also excited to be joined by new Board members Lynn Lewis, executive director of Picture the Homeless, a grassroots homeless-led and directed organization and past Muste Institute grantee; and Brian Drolet, acting director of Deep Dish TV, an alternative forum for community-produced socially conscious media and longtime Muste Institute tenant group. You can read more about Rebecca, Lynn, Brian and all of our Board members at http://ajmuste.org/ajboardbios.htm.
Thanks so much for your support.
The Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and the Settlements has been mobilizing residents of the Palestinian West Bank village of Bil’in in weekly nonviolent actions against the Wall and the Occupation since early 2005. The Muste Institute supported the Committee with a $2,000 grant in April 2006. The marchers have suffered constant repression by Israeli forces—including the killing of Bil’in activist Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahmah and the wounding of many other participants. In February 2010, preliminary infrastructure work to reroute the Wall finally began—two and a half years after the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the barrier’s path through Bil’in’s land was illegal.
The persistence and creativity of Bil’in’s weekly protests, in collaboration with Israeli and international activists, have established the village as a symbol of non-violent resistance and have inspired other villages to follow suit. This month Israel responded to this growing movement by declaring the areas surrounding the wall in Bil’in and another village, Nil’in, to be closed military zones on Fridays. Residents are actively resisting the closing and continuing their weekly protests. For updates see www.bilin-village.org
We received the following letter, along with a $25 donation, in May of last year:
I am a 7th grade student at Marshall Middle School in Marshall, Michigan. I won a charity speech contest in my Language Art class and I can send a donation. I chose your organization because I have many non-violent beliefs. When I just recently opened your page on the internet, I found a quotation that I loved, and I saw on television a week before my speech, it is “There is no way to peace—peace is the way.” I used that as a closing statement in my speech. I think if many more people followed this saying, the world would be much nicer. Thank you for helping many parts of the world, and I hope my donation can help.
Sincerely, Parker Cruz
NOVA Fund 2009 Grants
Centros de Acción y Servicio Social - CASSAC (Centers of Action and Social Service), Mexico City, Mexico: $7,500 in April for renovations to the Casa de la Solidaridad “Sergio Méndez Arceo”so it can continue to provide a home for various human rights, solidarity and peace organizations in Mexico City.
Corporación SER PAZ, Guayaquil, Ecuador: $10,000 in June for efforts to encourage and support current and former gang members in Guayaquil in nonviolent efforts for social justice; and $5,000 in December for reconstruction and equipping of the SER PAZ offices following a November 2009 fire.
FRENAPI (National Indigenous Peoples’ Front), San José, Costa Rica: $15,000 (via SERPAJ Costa Rica) for efforts to develop and strengthen capacity and leadership among the indigenous peoples of Costa Rica. This grant was supported by the Appleton Foundation.
Ome Gompote Kiwigimoni Huaorani (We Defend Our Huaorani Territory), Bameno, Ecuador: $1,500 for Penti Baihua to visit New York and Washington to confront officials from governments, international financial institutions and United Nations agencies about plans affecting the ancestral lands of Huaorani communities in the Amazon region of Ecuador.
Servicio Paz y Justicia America Latina (SERPAJ AL), San José, Costa Rica: $14,000 for coordination and support of the network of affiliates of SERPAJ, the Peace and Justice Service, promoting active nonviolence and social justice in Latin America. www.serpajamericalatina.org
SERPAJ Costa Rica, San José,Costa Rica: $7,500 for educational and organizing efforts toward creating a culture of peace and promoting the defense of people’s human, civic, social, economic and cultural rights in Costa Rica. www.serpajamericalatina.org/secretariados/secretariadocostarica.htm
SERPAJ Morelos, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico: $18,000 (with support from the Appleton Foundation) for research and education on social conflict and nonviolence in Mexico and efforts to support active nonviolence, peace-building and autonomy. www.pensarenvozalta.org
As a twenty-year-old draft registration resister in the early 1980s, the only thing keeping me from academic probation was a budding interest in African resistance movements. My life outside of undergraduate affairs was spent volunteering in the offices of the War Resisters League... and once Ralph DiGia found out what my interests were, his urgings were clear and consistent: you’ve got to meet my buddy Bill Sutherland!
Living in Tanzania, Bill and Ralph knew one another from their days as World War Two conscientious objectors. It was their bicycle ride through Europe at the end of that war, however, that sent Bill on his life-long trajectory as a bridge between African liberation and global peace movements. Bill met some African students on that trip, and they helped convince him to travel to the continent to check out the burgeoning anti-colonial struggles.
From 1953 onwards, Bill lived and traveled throughout Africa, working with the grassroots and with those who would become presidents. He and his family in Ghana worked closely with Kwame Nkrumah, and helped host Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King on their 1957 trip to that country’s independence celebrations. He led the Sahara Protest Team of those putting their bodies in the way of French nuclear testing. He helped found Peace Brigades International, and moved to Dar es Salaam as Julius Nyerere and Kenneth Kaunda were experimenting with nonviolent tactics and philosophy.
The freedom fighters from Southern Africa who fled to Tanzania and Zambia as their home struggles intensified found their way to Bill’s front lawn, where he housed them with affection, and with healthy doses of American jazz. He joined the international staff of the American Friends Service Committee, helping to lead the anti-apartheid movement and pushing that organization to use its clout to promote Bishop Desmond Tutu for the Nobel Peace prize.
After our meeting in the mid-1980s, Bill and I—despite the differences in our ages, ethnicities, and geographic locations—became friends, colleagues, and family members. Our Guns and Gandhi in Africa: Pan African Insights on Nonviolence, Armed Struggle, and Liberation (2000), which grew out of a Muste Institute-sponsored project, has led to ongoing research and activism.
On January 2, 2010, at age 91, Bill “joined the ancestors”—but he leaves a rich legacy which lives on.
Longtime New York City-based pacifist activist Marilyn Meyer passed away on March 22 at age 77. Marilyn was rarely in the spotlight, but her loving commitment sustained the nonviolent movement for peace and justice for decades. Marilyn’s joy and warmth will be missed by all who knew her.
George Willoughby, a co-founder of the Muste Institute’s International Nonviolence Training Fund, died on January 5th, 2010, at the age of 95. His wife Lillian Willoughby died a year earlier—on January 15th, 2009—at the age of 93. Long time Quaker peace activists, Lillian and George both served on the Muste Institute’s Advisory Committee.
George and Lillian met in the late 1930s and devoted their life together to promoting nonviolence. They were conscientious objectors during World War II, and helped find homes for Japanese-Americans who had been held in internment camps. In the early 50s George worked with American Friends Service Committee and later Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors. Both Lillian and George were involved in the Committee for Nonviolent Action and A Quaker Action Group. From 1971 to 1987 they were involved in the Philadelphia Life Center, an activist community that gave birth to Movement for a New Society. George also helped form Peace Brigades International. Later in life, Lillian joined Grannies for Peace.
Lillian and George visited India many times to strengthen ties with nonviolent activists and training programs. They worked with many of the same Gandhian activists who in late January of this year organized and attended the War Resisters’ International Conference in Ahmedabad, India. The organizers named the conference auditorium the Willoughby-Sutherland Hall in honor of Lillian and George and Bill Sutherland, and displayed pictures and stories of their lives well lived. At the time of his death George was planning another visit to India for the dedication of a fund in Lillian’s name.
NANSANA WOMEN DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION
The Social Justice Fund makes grants for grassroots activist projects in the US and around the world. The next deadline is April 19, 2010. Guidelines are at ajmuste.org/guidelin.htm. If supporting social justice activism is important to you, please donate now to help us expand this important grantmaking program.
When a massive earthquake hit Haiti on January 12, New York-based Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees jumped into action, spearheading a grassroots relief effort. The group joined with the Movement of Dominican Women of Haitian Descent (MUDHA) to get the first shipment of aid to Haiti within a few days of the quake, and together with other grassroots partners they have continued to send truckloads of medical supplies, food, mattresses, tents, portable stoves and water from the Dominican Republic directly to those affected by the disaster. In April 2008 the Muste Institute granted $2,000 to Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees for their work building opposition to racism and discrimination among Dominican and Haitian communities in New York City and beyond. To find out more about their quake relief efforts, see haitireliefnyc.wordpress.com .
The Adalys Fund helps grassroots activists from Latin America, the Caribbean and indigenous territories throughout the hemisphere to participate in regional meetings. The next deadlines are April 1 and June 1, 2010. Guidelines are on our website in English at http://ajmuste.org/novaintro-eng.html, and in Spanish at ajmuste.org/novaintro.html .
Associação de Cooperação Agrícola das Comunas da Terra da Regional Grande São Paulo - COACOM (Association of Agricultural Cooperation of the Land Communes of the Greater São Paulo Region), Cajamar, São Paulo, Brazil: $607 for Pedro Sales de Melo Suarez to participate in the Encuentro Internacional de Jóvenes de las Américas de la Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Organizaciones del Campo - Via Campesina, CLOC/VC (International Gathering of Youth of the Americas of the Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations/Via Campesina, CLOC/VC), held February 9-11, 2010, in Quito, Ecuador.
Associação de Mulheres Flor de Maio (Flor de Maio Women’s Association), Salto, São Paulo, Brazil: $1,500 (via sponsor Grupo de Mulheres Negras Nzinga Mbandi) for a group of women to represent grassroots organizations from São Paulo state at the 2010 World Social Forum, held January 25-29 in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
Associação de Mulheres Negras Maria Benedita do Socorro (Maria Benedita do Socorro Black Women’s Association), Vila Martins, São Paulo, Brazil: $1,500 (via sponsor Grupo de Mulheres Negras Nzinga Mbandi) for a group of women to represent grassroots organizations from São Paulo state at the 2010 World Social Forum, held January 25-29 in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir (Catholics for the Right to Choose), Córdoba, Argentina: $725 (to Asociación Civil por el Derecho a Decidir), for Constanza Miguel to participate in an educational exchange with Guatemalan community organizers and health promoters from late January to early February 2010 in Ciudad Quetzal, Guatemala. www.catolicasporelderechoadecidir.org
Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz (Intereclesiastical Commission for Justice and Peace), Bogotá, Colombia: $402.20 for María Fernanda Barrera Parra and Luz Alba Santoyo Cadena to participate in the Encuentro Latinoamericano de Formación y Reflexión “Pachamama, Pueblos, Liberación y Sumak Kawsay” en homenaje al I Centenario del nacimiento de Mons. Leonidas Proaño (Latin American Meeting of Education and Reflection “Pachamama, Peoples, Liberation and Sumak Kawsay” in memory of the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Mons. Leonidas Proaño), held January 27-31, 2010, in Quito, Ecuador.
Comunicadores y Comunicadoras Populares Por la Autonomía - COMPPA, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico: $700 for community radio activists affiliated with COMPPA’s partner organizations in Oaxaca, Mexico and in Guatemala to participate in the Encuentro por el Derecho a la Difusión de Nuestras Voces (Gathering for the Right to Broadcast Our Voices) organized with the Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña, OFRANEH (Honduran Black Fraternal Organization) and scheduled to take place February 6-7, 2010, in Triunfo de la Cruz, Atlántida, Honduras. comppa.com
Congregación Religiosa “Hermanas de Jesús Pobre” (“Sisters of Poor Jesus” Religious Congregation), Santa Eulalia, Huarochirí Province, Lima, Perú: $747.62 for María Eusebia Escudero Wenzel and Juana Córdova Rojas to participate in the Latin American Meeting of Education and Reflection “Pachamama, Peoples, Liberation and Sumak Kawsay” in memory of the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Mons. Leonidas Proaño, held in January in Quito. (This trip was postponed because of illness; the grant is to be applied to a similar future trip by the same two women to Ecuador.)
Coordinadora Ecumenica de la Iglesia de las y los Pobres de El Salvador (CEIPES, Ecumenical Coordination of the Church of the Poor in El Salvador), Antiguo Cuscatlán, La Libertad, El Salvador: $750 (via sponsor Fundación Hermano “Mercedes Ruiz” FUNDAHMER) for Norma Esperanza Melara Méndez de Martínez to participate in the Latin American Meeting of Education and Reflection “Pachamama, Peoples, Liberation and Sumak Kawsay” in memory of the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Mons. Leonidas Proaño, held in January in Quito.
Coordinadora Nacional de Organizaciones de Mujeres Trabajadoras Rurales e Indígenas (CONAMURI, National Coordination of Rural and Indigenous Working Women’s Organizations), Asunción, Paraguay: $500 (via sponsor War Resisters’ International) for Maguiorina Atanasia Ramona Balbuena Cardozo to participate in WRI’s “Nonviolent Livelihood Struggle and Global Militarism: Links & Strategies” conference in India.
Escola Nacional Florestan Fernandes - São Paulo (Florestan Fernandes National School - São Paulo), Guararema, São Paulo, Brazil: $365.30 for Maria Gorete de Souza to participate in the Encontro do Coletivo de Formação de la Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Organizaciones del Campo (CLOC)/Via Campesina (VC) Sur América (Gathering of the Education Collective of the Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations-CLOC/Via Campesina South America), held January 25-27, 2010, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Fundación Hermano “Mercedes Ruiz” FUNDAHMER (Brother “Mercedes Ruiz” Foundation), Antiguo Cuscatlán, La Libertad, El Salvador: $750 for María Elena Sanabria de Cruz to participate in the Latin American Meeting of Education and Reflection “Pachamama, Peoples, Liberation and Sumak Kawsay” in memory of the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Mons. Leonidas Proaño, held in January in Quito. fundahmer.org.sv
Fundación Pueblo Indio del Ecuador (Indigenous People of Ecuador Foundation), Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador: $1,500 for Emperatriz Montalvo and Cristina Ushiña to participate in the Encuentro de Jóvenes Comunicadores y Mutirão de la Comunicación (Gathering of Youth Communicators and Mutirão of Communication), to be held February 2-7, 2010, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. www.fundacionpuebloindio.org
Grupo Reflexion y Solidaridad Oscar Arnulfo Romero (OAR, Oscar Arnulfo Romero Reflection and Solidarity Group), Havana, Cuba: $1,010.28 (via sponsor Fundación Pueblo Indio del Ecuador) for Olga Zoila Morales Pacheco and Luís Carlos Marrero Chasbar to participate in the Latin American Meeting of Education and Reflection “Pachamama, Peoples, Liberation and Sumak Kawsay” in memory of the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Mons. Leonidas Proaño, held in January in Quito. sicsal.net/cuba
Instituto de Educação Popular Frei Tito (Frei Tito Institute of Popular Education), Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil: $365.30 for Angelo Diogo Mazin to participate in the Gathering of the Education Collective of the Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations-CLOC/Via Campesina South America, held in January in Buenos Aires.
Junta Promotora del Agua (Water Promotion Board), Salta, Argentina: $1,393.10 for María Isabel Conesa and Carlos María Pagano Fernández to participate in the Latin American Meeting of Education and Reflection “Pachamama, Peoples, Liberation and Sumak Kawsay” in memory of the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Mons. Leonidas Proaño, held in January in Quito.
Lesbianas Independientes Feministas Socialistas – LIFS (Independent Feminist Socialist Lesbians), Lince, Lima, Peru: $313.59 for Luisa Zanabria Cuba to participate in the 5a. Conferencia Regional de la ILGA en Latinoamérica y el Caribe (5th Regional Conference of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, ILGA, in Latin America and the Caribbean) held January 26-30, 2010, in Curitiba, Brazil. lifsperu.blogspot.com
Rede de Socioeconomia Solidaria da Zona Oeste-RJ (Solidarity Socioeconomy Network of Western Rio de Janeiro), Campo Grande, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: $500 (via sponsor Instituto Políticas Alternativas para o Cone Sul – PACS), for travel expenses for Joana Emmerick Seabra to participate in the First Social Forum of Solidarity Economy and First Solidarity Economy World’s Fair, held January 22-24, and the 2010 World Social Forum, held January 25-29.
December 2009: 17 grants totaling $13,629.39