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tsunami tabling? [05 Jan 2005|07:53am]

[ mood | sad ]

i am going back to school jan 18 and wondered about tabling at school the first week or so to collect $$$ for tsunami victims -- wondered about suggestions... does oxfam have specific materials about the disaster i can use? what should i tell people, exactly? etc. wish the media didn't make us so damned numb to tragedy... some of my relatives i was visiting for holidays have the attitude that "those countries didn't help us when we had hurricanes in florida, why should we help them?" THAT makes me as sad as the tragedy makes me. i could just cry...

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Break means time to process and reflect [25 Dec 2004|02:50am]
[ mood | energetic ]

Hey guys -- Mery Christmas and Happy Holidays! As some time has passed now and I've been able to process the Hunger Banquet on my campus, I wanted to share with you what I've been reflecting on with others. Perhaps you'll be able to identify with what I've found as well. Here goes: "As I studied away in Oakland, CA this past Fall semester, I was dedicated to holding an Oxfam Hunger Banquet on the campus as part of my Community Organizer role for the international organization. The Hunger Banquet is organized so that when attendees enter the room, they draw their "lot in life," which is a card that dictates the amount of and kinds of food they receive during the dinner portion. I had several challenges upon arriving on campus: I had to find out what groups worked on hunger issues on campus, whether or not they held events similar to the Hunger Banquet, and upon finding out they had not, how I would be able to orchestrate an event of the magnitude I hoped on the campus. This was my first solo attempt at hosting one and the fact that I was doing so at a campus completely new to me added extra stress to the affair. I managed to get through it rather well and was delighted to discover deep reflection at the event. One young woman cried, explaining that she had seen real hunger first-hand, upon her visiting various African countries and she knew that this event was superficial to many. They would feel bad for people who had to experience this daily, but as soon as the banquet ended, they could go to the cafeteria and fill themselves. Another woman commented that she had been homeless once so she participated in the banquet as though she were really on the street again, in need of food. She asked her friend at the wealthy table to share what she didn't eat. The dinner and speakers helped demonstrate the distribution of wealth in the world and allowed time for participants to reflect on their understanding of why hunger and poverty exist. Many told me afterward that the event went well. For me, the learning continued after the event took place. A friend I deeply respect shared she had heard the Banquet went well but that the emcee of the event had managed to otherize people of third world nations by demeaning their using their hands to eat food. This demonstrated to me that we must not be satisfied with our merely bringing up an issue or dialoguing - that instead, we must seek to be concious always of the impact of our words and actions. The students reflected and I did too."

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hunger banquet a success! [20 Nov 2004|07:04pm]

[ mood | peaceful ]

we've had a hunger banquet for years, and i wasn't in charge of this year's -- there were already other people putting it on -- but it was a great success! over 100 people showed up, which was about the perfect # for our setup. (background: i go to east TN state U, about 11,000 students total). it was really good. we had a homeless man talk, which was good. and the students who attended had good thoughts -- i.e., we could all go home and eat something real afterwards, but if we were really in this social class, we wouldn't be able to. i am really excited that it went well... maybe i'll be in charge next year. i think the biggest reason for our success is that it has been around for a while on our campus -- people come back who came last year, and they bring more people with them. we work with fairly well-known groups on campus and advertise. so, if this was the first one at your school and didn't get as big a turnout as you had hoped, don't give up! give it a few years.

the banquet really affected me, although i had been before and wasn't a "participant" this year -- it is good to be reminded of what we have and what others lack. after an event like this, it makes me more disgusted at the material posessions i have and how important they are in my life. (christmas season usually leaves me somewhat disappointed in this respect, being now all about commercialism and less about important things).


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More Hunger Banquet! [18 Nov 2004|09:29pm]

[ mood | optimistic ]

We just had our hunger banquet last week here.  Considering this was the first year we held the event, at least the first in the memory of any current students, we had a really great turnout. I think we had 27 people come, and closer to 50 RSVP.  People really liked it, we had a discussion afterward for about an hour.

This week was Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week, so we used this as a kick-off event.  Since then we have collected tons of canned food and clothes to donate to local shelters.  It has been really heartening to see the support, especially from some people outside the "regular" crowd.


Gustavus Adolphus College

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It's over! Done! Finished! No more! And there's leftover food . . . [16 Nov 2004|10:06pm]
[ mood | touched ]

Hey guys!

I just completed (with an AMAZING team of volunteers) the first ever Mills College Oxfam Hunger Banquet!! We accepted canned food donations from the 25+ participants! The event was very powerful, with one of the young women at the high-end table wiping away tears, others crying during speeches after dinner was served.

They articulated their concerns during the reflection period and it continues to amaze me, that no matter how many of these things I help put on or attend, I always hear new insights that speak so truly to the beauty and innovation of the human heart and mind. How fun -- congrats Oxfam, on having such a well-written script that encompasses so many different issues and aspects of social justice!

Best of luck to everyone working on their Oxfam projects!

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speaker? [23 Oct 2004|01:13pm]

[ mood | curious ]

maybe this has been covered before, i forget, but is it possible to bring a speaker to campus from oxfam for our hunger banquet? and how much would it cost?

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working on hunger banquet [15 Oct 2004|12:21pm]

So, my school is planning our Hunger Banquet for November 18th -- we've had the event for a number of years now, so I am working with the people who have done it before and learning from them how to do it, so that I can run in in the future. I'm also trying to get started planning a Hunger Cleanup next April. Can I get Oxfam brochures and other materials to give out at these events and to table at other school events? My address: Etsu Box 10608/Johnson City, TN 37614.
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Yay for the Oxfamily! [30 Sep 2004|10:31am]

[ mood | excited ]

Hi everyone!

My name is Caroline (Caro) and I am interning at the splendidly wonderful Boston-Oxfam office this fall. As such, I will be participating in and helping with the live journal. If I can offer y'all any support throughout the coming months, please do not hesitate to ask! A little about myself: I am a Senior at Tufts University here in Boston, majoring in International Relations and Latin American studies. Last year I spent the Fall studying U.S. foreign policy and interning for Oxfam in Washington, D.C.. Last spring I was in Chile, studying trade negotiations and economic development. I am orginally from South Carolina (hence the incessant y'alls) and am totally devoted to Oxfam's causes. :) I am looking forward to getting to know all of you and hope that this semester's live journal will be inspirational, motivational, and most of all, fun!

Until next time! Caro

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World Food Day [21 Sep 2004|12:37pm]

[ mood | cheerful ]

Hey Guys!

I hope you all are doing well! I'm sure you're getting back into the swing of things with school, work, ACTIVISM, :) etc. I'm excited to read about what goes on at your schools this year. Anyhow I just wanted to say hello! I've been in Toronto, Canada for the past few weeks, but will be heading off to England in a few days to finish up my last year of college. It is both exciting and overwhelming. The next step is figuring out how to pack my life into 2 suitcases - yikes!

Also, for any of you specifically interested in hunger and poverty issues, keep in mind that WORLD FOOD DAY is coming up on October 16th.

World food day is an annual celebration that began in 1981 and is now recognized in 150 countries as a day for raising public awareness concerning global food issues. October 16th also marks the founding of the United Nations' Food and Agriculature Organization (FAO), which took place in Quebec City in 1945. To read more, go to:

Attempt to raise awareness on your campus, as well as engage fellow students to take action to reduce hunger and poverty locally and internationally.

Some ideas:
*This would be a great day to advertise for a coming hunger banquet (or start selling tickets!)
*Set up a table in your schools dining hall, and get people to sign the Big Noise petition - since food insecurity and trade are linked together.
*Organize a food drive for a local shelter, and/or collect pennies and signatures for Oxfam.

This is just a start, keep brainstorming ideas!!! Have a good one you guys! :) I'll post again once I'm in England.

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Hunger Banquet [21 Sep 2004|10:55am]

[ mood | busy ]

Tonight is my schools Hunger Banquet. It's been a lot of fun to put things together and advertise! We used cans with the labels as the advertisements! It is all part of homecoming week and it's the first big kick off of the week! We're looking to have about 300 people here tonight! I'll take pictures and let you all know how it went!


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Fair Trade [09 Sep 2004|07:30pm]

[ mood | busy ]

A friend of mine and I are tabling at our schools activity fair to raise awareness for fair trade and recruit some people to help us with our big plans. I was wondering if anyone has any information I could put in a brochure or if oxfam has brochures that I could hand out. We want to get people excited about getting more fair trade products on campus.

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dirty gold helps make for hunger & poverty . . . [04 Sep 2004|12:48am]
[ mood | contemplative ]

dirty gold:

so i signed the no dirty gold pledge and checked out www.nodirtygold.org -- thought this was pretty interesting:

"March 24, 2004. In an open letter advertisement in the Washington Post, Tiffany & Co, one of the world's leading jewelry companies, opposed a silver mine that threatens an important wilderness area and called for mining reforms it believes are urgently needed. Michael Kowalski, the Chairman and CEO of Tiffany & Co, stated that the company is motivated by consumer demand. "We've always believed that we have an implicit contract with our customers. They demand that Tiffany products, precious metals and gemstones be extracted in environmentally and socially responsible ways," he said. This is the first time that a major jewelry company has taken a highly visible stance urging reform of the industry supplying it with much of its gold, silver, and platinum."

still gotta be a bit suspicious of the intentions of such a large corporation, but it is a good statement and hopefully their prominence helps set a precedent. i'm currently at mills college in oakland, ca and although i don't see class rings on their alumnae, i believe they have senior pins of some sorts -- that can be further researched=)

hunger and poverty:

it is really a curious thing that not even 3,000 americans died in 9/11 and the (deserved)outcry that resulted from it was so forthcoming compared to the little media coverage on the greatest form of violence perpetrated against humanity today and everyday: 30,000 human beings dying daily from hunger-related (poverty) causes. just like the posting indicates -- there are so many interlocking forms of oppression and systematic forces holding people at the bottom of what we might call the proverbial food chain . . . that is, they don't get enough to live healthy, nutritious lives.

i almost got a sense of hopelessness looking over this posting . . . i firmly believe these issues for health are the most important things we can struggle after in fighting for global justice. a healthy body which with to labor can then organize and unionize its fellow laborers . . . but it all starts with that healthy, well-nourished body. hopelessness becomes anger becomes energy becomes strength becomes ideas becomes action though: i'll work on pulling off a hunger banquet at my school -- it is definitely a very impactful tool that can hopefully set a few others off on a course of informed activism for a healthier world.

best of luck at school this fall everyone -- great work keeping us informed this summer sarah!-)

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Very important! [20 Aug 2004|06:37pm]

[ mood | thoughtful ]

Hey Guys,

Now is the time to start thinking about what you have learned this summer. What has inspired you, what has moved you to action? Also, how would you like to bring these issues back to your campus in the fall?

Perhaps you feel committed to bringing Fair Trade Coffee to your campus, or locally grown food to your dining hall? Or maybe you want to organize a Hunger Banquet, like described in the last post. Whatever you plan to do, we want to be involved in your action! Not only will we provide you with resources, but we will work with you, one-on-one to answer your questions and help you organize action on your campuses.

Over the next week, please respond to this post and let us know what your goals are for the fall. What type of action would you like to organize? Perhaps it’s something different then the ideas we have covered. Just get your ideas back to us, and we can start helping you plan. (Get in those evaluations too – we’ve got a few more t-shirts left!)

I should also let you know, I’ll be heading back to school soon, so you won’t be seeing me posting as regularity as I have been this summer – but I’ll still be around!! Xavi will be taking over, so your thoughts and questions will continue to be answered.

Thanks again for an amazing summer. I have really enjoyed getting to know you and reading your thoughts. Best of luck this fall!

Peace and love,

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Hunger in a world of plenty - what can you do about it? [20 Aug 2004|11:31am]

[ mood | creative ]

It’s easy to feel powerless when you turn on the TV and see images of children in Africa, with swollen stomachs, and small skeletal fames caused a lack of sufficient nutrients. It’s also easy to become detached, because the problem appears to too big and too overwhelming. As you’ll see in this post, hunger is an epidemic affecting not just the developing world, but all nations! In order to bring this problem under control, a combination of education, compassion and social action is needed. Read this post to find out more…

In this post you will find:
1. Some facts and figures
What causes hunger?
2. The effects of hunger on health and society
3. Hunger in the United States
Food scarcity vs. food insecurity
4. What is Oxfam Doing?
Oxfam’s Hunger banquet
6. Your homework assignment – it’s time to TAKE ACTION!

By the time it takes you to read this paragraph, 2 children will have died from hunger related causes… 30,000 by the end of today. Yet, where is the public outcry? Where’s the conscience of nations who have the power to reduce this number drastically? The United Nations Development Program estimates that the basic health and nutrition needs of the world's poorest people could be met for an additional $13 billion a year. Animal lovers in the United States and Europe spend more than that on pet food each year! The problem is not that food is scarce. In fact, our planet produces more then enough food too feed every man, woman and child. So what’s the problem?

The problem lies in the root causes of hunger, which is caused by inequalities in access to resources, education and power. The results are high levels of poverty, illiteracy and the inability to grow or buy food. Nations and people become more vulnerable, and that vulnerability leads to unfair treatment in the world economy which only compounds the likelihood that they will remain in poverty and experience hunger.

The root causes of hunger:
LACK OF EDUCATION – 115 million children in the world can’t go to primary school. School fees are one of the many obstacles denying children in developing countries a basic education and locking them into a cycle of poverty.

LACK OF ACCESS TO RESOURCES – Millions of farmers are deprived of the resources they need to survive, including land, credit, water and access to markets for their goods.

DEBT BURDENS – the endless cycle of debt contributes directly to poverty in many countries, draining financial resources that should be directed to social services, including health care and education.

TRADE – Millions of farmers, laborers and factory workers are being cheated by the blatantly unfair rules of world trade. High tariffs, subsidies, and bans on certain imports are often insurmountable barriers to people trying to break the cycle of poverty.

CONFLICT AND WAR – Millions die each year from war-related hunger and disease. Worldwide, there are about 20 million people displaced by war and humanitarian emergencies. At present, a crisis is taking place in the Darfur region of western Sudan, affecting over a million people.
To read more about what Oxfam is doing in this region, go to:

DISCRIMINATION – Members of oppressed castes, indigenous groups and religious minorities often have led access to resources and government assistance. They are frequently the last to receive emergency aid in the wake of disasters.

The Effects of Hunger:
Currently, more than 842 million people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Not only does Oxfam America believe that having enough food to feed yourself and your family is a basic human right, but according to Article 3 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” Simply, hunger is incompatible with this right, hindering both human capabilities, and the right to a healthy life.

POVERTY At present 1.2 billion people in our world – that’s one in five – live on less than $1 a day, and 2.4 billion live without decent sanitation. Hunger is just another result of poverty and lack of opportunity. As a relief and development organization, Oxfam firmly believes that hunger and poverty CAN be overcome. Through supporting local organizations that understand the specific needs of their communities, as well as providing resources and training, Oxfam enables people to take ownership of the problems they face by attempting to find sustainable solutions to poverty. When people are empowered to take control of their lives, lasting changes come.

What is needed is committed assistance by developed nations – possibly in the form of aid, investment in micro finance, education, health care, debt relief, and peace and security. At present, the United States is spending over $500 billion dollars this year to fund the military, and reconstruction in the aftermath of Iraq and Afghanistan. However, when it comes to aid and poverty elimination in developing nations, (which helps PREVENT conflict), the budget changes. A mere $15 billion dollars went to fund development, hunger and poverty in 2004. Even this $15 billion dollar amount can be further broken down – with 53% of this aid going to relatively well off countries like Israel, Egypt and Eastern European countries in transition, for military and security assistance. According to the United Nations, developed nations should give a minimum target aid amount of .7% of GNI (gross national income). Currently, the US is pledging only.3%, which falls short of the target. The only nations to reach (and exceed) the 0.7 UN target is Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, and Luxemburg.

“If we channeled just $40 billion each year away from armies into anti-poverty programs, in 10 years all of the world’s population would enjoy basic social services – education, health care and nutrition, potable water and sanitation. Another $40 billion over 10 years would provide each person on this planet with an income level above the poverty line for their country.”
–Oscar Arias, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize

SOCIAL There is a social dimension to poverty, often targeting the most vulnerable in society. Sadly it is girls and women who suffer the most. Due to social and cultural structures in many developing nations, women have an unfavorable status, casting them as lower class citizens. This status is reflected during family mealtimes, where it is often cultural practice for women and girls eat whatever food is leftover after the men and boys have consumed their fill. It is no wonder that the most common nutritional deficiencies in developing nations are Protein Malnutrition and Micronutrient Deficiency Disorders (iron deficiency, iodine deficiency, vitamin A deficiency) – and the most vulnerable populations at risk for undernourishment are pregnant women, new mothers who breastfeed infants, and children.

HEALTH Not only will malnutrition cause a variety of developmental delays and health problems, but a hungry child will have a harder time learning in school, shorter attention spans, and suffer more absences due to illness (this is a relevant statistic that spans across the globe, describing many children in the USA.) According to the World Health Organization, poor nutrition and calorie deficiencies cause nearly one in three people to die prematurely or have disabilities. Sadly, most of these deaths are attributed, not to outright starvation, but to diseases that move in when people’s vulnerable bodies have been weakened by hunger Not only does undernourishment negatively affects people’s health, but hunger also affects peoples productivity, sense of hope and overall well-being. A lack of food can stunt growth, slow thinking, sap energy, hinder fetal development and contribute feelings of powerlessness and weakness

HUNGER IN THE USA When most Americans think about hunger, they usually think about famines occurring in far-away countries. In reality, hunger is a problem happening right here in our own nation. Last year, 35 million people, including 13 million children, in the United States did not have access to enough food for an active healthy life. Some of these individuals were provided for with emergency food sources, whereas others experienced hunger.

When talking about hunger, it is important to properly define how the term can be used. In the most basic sense, hunger is a condition where people do not get enough food to provide the nutrients for a healthy life. Food insecurity is when there is not enough food available to consume – the problem is ACCESS to quality and quantity food sources. This is a common term used when discussing hunger in the United States specifically, because there is more then enough food to go around.

WASTE According to the US Department of Agriculture, up to one-fifth of America's food goes to waste each year, which is estimated to be 130 pounds of food per person ending up in landfills. This is a startling statistic! Despite our abundance of food, large portions at restaurants and great variety available in supermarkets, we have a hard time avoiding massive waste. Hunger in America should not be a reality, when food ends up in the trash.

Giving Hunger A Face
It is easy to isolate hunger issues in America as being only among the homeless. Sadly, there’s hunger everywhere – even among hard working, employed individuals. According to Bread for the World Institute, “the face of hunger is the older couple who has worked hard for their entire lives only to find their savings wiped out by unavoidable medical bills; or a single mother who has to choose whether the salary from her minimum wage job will go to buy food or pay rent; or a child who struggles to concentrate on his schoolwork because his family couldn’t afford dinner the night before.” Hunger in America must be ended.

WHAT IS OXFAM DOING? According to Aim 1 of Oxfam’s 5 Aims, all people in the world “have the right to a sustainable livelihood.” In other worlds, they have a right to having their basic needs met, including food, shelter, water. Oxfam’s participation in equitable distribution of food involves a variety of action:

*Regional Programs– partners with local, community based organizations and empowers people to play an important role in the long-term development of their families, communities and regions.

*Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation – provides immediate assistance to save lives in the event of disaster. Once urgent danger has passed, Oxfam continues to help people rebuild thief lives and prepare for future crisis.
Besides work being done in developing nations, Oxfam also works to educate people in the USA about poverty and hunger issues.

*Policy & Advocacy – combines research, advocacy and campaigning to engage world public opinion and influence decision makers on behalf of people living in poverty.

*Public Education – fosters a broad understanding of the root causes of poverty and injustice and promotes the role each individual can play in a global movement for social change.

This is one of Oxfam’s most popular events! Held every November on the Thursday before Thanksgiving, the Oxfam’s hunger banquet is a powerful dramatization of the inequitable distribution of food and resources in today’s world. The way it works is tickets are sold, (as an Oxfam fund raiser) and people arrive knowing that they are attending a different sort of banquet. Guests are divided into groups with proportions representing the number of people in high (15 percent), middle (25 percent), and low- (60 percent) income groups, as determined by World Development Report statistics. By random drawing, Oxfam Hunger Banquet guests end up in one of the three groups and are served corresponding meals. Only a few people leave an Oxfam Hunger Banquet with satisfied stomachs; most receive little to eat. Yet all go away filled with new understanding about the problem of world hunger. This is a fun event, educational and life changing. It can be used in collaboration with other hunger related awareness projects, films, and events during a week of action.

If you are interested in having a Hunger Banquet at your school, WE WILL HELP YOU organize this fantastic event! Just contact Oxfam for a free copy of our Oxfam Hunger Banquet Planning Kit, which including detailed instructions, an organizers timetable and a script for the master of ceremonies. For more info, email: fast@oxfamamerica.org OR, feel free to call our office: 1-800-597-FAST

What you can this week:
You can start planning an Oxfam Hunger Banquet to take place on your campus this fall! Request the Hunger Banquet Planning Kit, gather a group of people who can help organize the event, as well as other campus and community groups, professors, etc. to take part. You can also start brainstorming a potential speaker to invite to the event.

What you can do today:
You can also hold a mini-fast of your own. Skip a meal, or give up something such as junk food, soda, movies, etc. Then donate the money you would have spent to Oxfam America’s anti-poverty work. You can also take a few minutes to check out the website, and read up about Oxfam’s Fast for a World Harvest. http://www.oxfamamerica.org/involved/art890.html

“Let all who are hungry come and eat”
(Passover Haggadah)

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Send in those Evaluations, ASAP! [18 Aug 2004|02:41pm]

[ mood | excited ]

Why should you get them in soon? Well, the FIRST 10 people to send us your evaluations gets a FREE Make Trade Fair t-shirt (you choose the size). They are very cool t-shirts...I have one myself and wear it all the time!

To see an image of Chris Martin wearing his MTF t-shirt, go to:

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Evaluation clarification [17 Aug 2004|09:34am]

[ mood | restless ]

Just so you know, the community organizer program is not over... sorry if there was any confusion! The below evaluation just an attempt for us to know what you are thinking up to this point. Your feedback will be confidential and used to make changes if necessary. :)

Thanks to those of you who asked for clarification!

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It's Evaluation Time... Let us know what you think! [12 Aug 2004|04:52pm]

[ mood | curious ]

Hey Guys!

Thank you once again for taking the time to be part of our pilot project, Oxfamco! It is amazing to see the changes that can happen when individuals are mobilized, and are able to mobilize others toward action! We hope you have had fun learning new information and getting inspired to act.

In order to better meet your needs, we want to hear your thoughts about the Community Organizer Program – and specifically the Live Journal community. We would REALLY appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to answer the following questions. Be as honest as you would like – your comments will be entirely confidential. All members of the live journal community will also be contacted by phone in the coming week – so don’t be surprised! You’ll have the option of doing the evaluation on the phone, or as an email. Send you thoughts back to us at: communityorganizer@oxfamamerica.org

1. What appealed to you about the community organizer program? (what were you hoping to get out of it, was that achieved, etc.)

2. How did technology affect the program? Did you find the live journal component beneficial or difficult to use? If you found it difficult, how can we improve this tool?

3. What was your favorite post? (why?)

4. Were the homework assignments achievable?

5. Do you feel prepared to lead an action campaign or awareness project on your campus? How else can the community organizer program make this happen?

6. What other issues would you like to see discussed that have not yet been covered?

7. What are your overall thoughts on the program? (Feel free to include any other feedback, comments or suggestions)


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STIT IT UP - by Rinku Sen [12 Aug 2004|09:31am]

[ mood | cheerful ]

The summer is almost over, but if you're looking to squeeze in a little more summer reading, then I have just the book for you! The book is titled, Stir It Up: Lessons in Community Organizing and Advocacy (published by Chardon Press). It is written by renowned activist and trainer Rinku Sen. Drawing from her own experience, from college activist to present day work with with women's groups organizing for economic justice, Sen provides the tools, strategies and practical suggestions to make change.

About the Author:
Rinku Sen is the publisher of ColorLines, the national quarterly magazine on race, culture, and action and the director of the New York office of the Applied Research Center. She was a codirector trainer for the Center for Third Organizing. Rinku has trained countless organizers, directed campaigns, and designed programs to advance race, gender, and class justice issues.

In Sen's own words, this book was written, "for progressives, people whose vision of a better world includes people in warm homes with enough to eat, dignity and fair pay attached to every job, the freedom to express love without boundaries, resistance to war and violence at all levels — a world in which we can all be who we really are, without having punishments and rewards handed out on the basis of those identities.” That's why I thought of you guys! :)

I found this book in my school library – so if you are not able to find it, ask your librarian to order it! HAPPY READING!

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Fair Trade Month [06 Aug 2004|11:27am]

[ mood | excited ]

Hey Community Organizers!

Just wanted to let everyone know that Trans Fair USA has just declaired October Fair Trade Month!! Its a perfect time to start a campaign on your campus about Fair Trade!! There are lots of things you can do, but here's an idea...why not plan something around Halloween.

Halloween=candy=chocolate=FAIR TRADE CHOCOLATE!!

But dont just stop there. Im sure you all have a million brillaint ideas floating around in your head! Have fun, be creative and be sure to email us at Oxfam if you need anything!

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The more you know, the less gold glows... [06 Aug 2004|10:42am]

[ mood | relaxed ]

Did you know that the production of one gold ring generates 20 TONS of mine waste! Most consumers don't know where the gold in their products comes from, or how it is mined. Before you take off your gold jewelry out of guilt, read this post to see what you can do to rid the world of dirty metals!

In this post you will find:
1. The problem with mining
2. The affects on environment, health, economy and society
3. Oxfam’s No Dirty Gold Campaign
4. Your Homework Assignment

Gold mining is one of the word’s dirtiest and most dangerous industries. It wreaks havoc on local economies by destroying streams, contaminating valuable soil and making people sick who live in mining regions. Due to lax environmental standards and human rights violations, gold mining has become an international disaster.

Did you know? Some facts about mining…
*Fourteen of the top 15 toxic polluting facilities in the U.S. are mines.
*Mining uses up to 10 percent of world energy consumption
*Every year, mines in the U.S. produce almost nine times as much waste (by weight) as trash produced by all U.S. cities and towns combined.
*Ninety percent of all gold mined in the U.S. uses a cyanide leaching process. A teaspoon full of 2 percent cyanide solution is enough to kill a person. In 1992, a cyanide spill at the Brewer gold mine in South Carolina killed more than 11,000 fish over a 50-mile stretch of the Lynches River.
*Contrary to popular perception, mining is not linked with economic prosperity. Countries that depend on mining are liked with high unemployment and poverty rates. In 2000, countries that had been dependent on mining in the 1970’s and 1980’s had a level of per capita income over $9,000 lower than non-mine dependent countries.

The Environment
Gold mining requires a lethal extraction process. One of the most toxic processes is called “heap leaching” – a procedure whereby the crushed ore is piled into heaps and sprayed with cyanide. The cyanide then trickles down through the ore and bonds with the gold. The resulting gold cyanide solution is eventually stored in artificial ponds for reuse. Due to the scale and duration (decades) of these operations, it is almost impossible to prevent the cyanide from seeping out of the pools and into the groundwater. A rice-grain sized dose of cyanide can be fatal to humans, and the levels discharged from mines have polluted rivers, triggered massive fish kills and poisoned communities.

Not only does cyanide cause destruction and death through polluted water, but toxic air pollutants are also released into the environment though the mining process. The air pollution emitted has high concentrations of sulfur and nitrogen oxides, major components of acid rain and smog. In fact, smelting (using a furnace to release gold from the ore) puts 142 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere every year – that’s 13 percent of total global emissions! Along with sulfur dioxide and cyanide, other carcinogenic substances are also emitted, including mercury, lead and arsenic. In the US, 96 percent of all reported arsenic emissions were from mines. If air pollution were n

Gold mining is not only destructive because of the manner in which the gold is extracted from the earth and the environmental toll, but it is also destructive because of the locations from which it is mined. Mining territory is often rich in biodiversity and is commonly located on indigenous lands or within natural preserves. In fact half of all the gold mined from 1995 to 2015 is likely to come from the traditional territories of indigenous peoples. And one-quarter of World Heritage Sites listed for natural value are at risk from past, current or planned mining or oil and gas drilling.

Mining Hotspots Around the World
Zambia: Copperbelt
Local communities suffer from asthma, lung diseases, and other health problems caused by pollution from copper mines and smelters run by Anglo-Americans and other companies

Honduras: San Martin
This open-pit gold and silver mine, run by Canada’s Glamis Gold, is destroying forests and drying up local farmland. The mine consumes 1.5 million liters of water a day.

Romania: Baia Mare
In 2000, the tailings dam from this gold mine spilled 100,000 metric tons of toxic wastewater, killing fish and poisoning the drinking water of 2.5 million people.

Papua New Guinea: Ok Tedi
This mine sends 200,000 tons of waste into the Ok Tedi river each day!

Right in our own back yard
The U.S. is the third largest gold-producing country in the world, with four of the world’s largest 10 gold mines located in Nevada. We are also not immune to the environmental and social costs of the mining industry. In Montana, the Zortman-Landusky gold mine has destroyed Spirit Mountain, a sacred site for the Assiniboine and Gros Ventre tribes. Also in Alaska, the world’s largest zinc mine, Red Dog, is also the largest polluter in Alaska. 196,000 metric tons of toxic pollutants are released each year.

Land Rights and International Human Rights
Around half of all the gold mined from 1995 to 2005 is likely to come from traditional territories of indigenous people. Because these are often remote areas, the relative isolation of these peoples from mainstream society often leaves them without basic legal rights and protection. This in turn has lead to greater vulnerability abuse. According to standards in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, violations linked to gold mining have taken place in the form of worker safety violations and outright abuse, including rape, murder and torture. Often abuse comes when there is community opposition to mining, which is then met with violent suppression by the companies themselves or by government forces working with the mining companies.

In Papua, Indonesia, where Freeport McMoran operates the Grasberg gold and copper mine, human rights investigators have documented numerous human rights violations – including rape, torture, extrajudicial killings and arbitrary detention – committed by the Indonesian military against the indigenous communities living near the mine. Human rights activists have long suspected that Freeport was paying the Indonesian soldiers directly, an arrangement that would make the company complicit to the military’s abuses. In 2003, this was suspicion was confirmed. In a 2003, document requested by Freeport’s shareholders confirmed that the company was paying the Indonesian military $4.7 million in 2001 and $5.6 million in 2002.

The irony is, it is the people of the land who should have the right to decide whether mining will take place in their communities or not, without the threat of abuse. After all, it’s the local inhabitants who suffer due to both physical displacement and a displacement of traditional livelihood. Thus, Oxfam is calling for mining companies to refrain from projects that have not secured the free, prior and informed consent of the communities concerned!

Economic impacts of mining
Despite the enormous enviromnental toll, mining industry employs only 0.09 percent of the global workfoce. And despite the usual promise of jobs, the mining economy typically creates little employment for indigenous people when mining comes to town. Either the jobs are dangerous and short term (most large scale projects have a maximum life span of 10-40 years) or, in large operations, skilled laborers are brought in by the mining companies. Women are especially vulnerable, since their agricultural jobs are usually replaced, and they are forced to find work in other areas.

Another economic problem is that mining money is not generated into local economies like is should be. Rather, most metal extracted in poor countries is exported as the ore itself, which then gets processed and manufactured in wealthy countries. It is the developed nations that make the wealth at someone else’s expense.

Social impacts of mining
A heavy dependence on mining also correlates strongly with a wide range of serious social problems, such as high levels of poverty, low levels of education and poor health care. Nearly half of the world’s poorest countries show this dependency: mining is the biggest export sector. In the past couple decades; poverty in these dependent areas has deepened. According to the UN commission on Trade and Development, the proportion of people living on less that $1 a day in poor mineral-exporting countries rose from 61 percent in 198101983 to 82 percent in 1997-1999.

Simply, when mining companies leave, communities are left with both environmental contamination and cultural contamination. Drinking, drug use and prostitution are often introduced to communities, yet beneficial social services do not stay. When the mine leaves any schools, clinics and other services established by the companies loose their funding. In other words, communities are left to fend for themselves, often with a destroyed environment, economic displacement and a changed identity.

"If humanity knew the truth about gold mining, and how much harm it generates, things would begin to change." - Mariano Fiestas, a citrus farmer in the San Lorenzo Vally, the site of the proposed Tambogrande gold mine in Peru.

So you may be wondering, what is Oxfam doing to tackle this enormous problem? Well,
Oxfam America is working in partnership with Earthworks to expose the harmful effects of gold mining operations. The goal of the No Dirty Gold Campaign is focusing on both consumer education, and mobilizing the rights of indigenous people to stand up for themselves and their land.

The campaign also addresses the environmental devastation and human rights violations linked to the gold mining industry. As consumers within the global community, we must act conscientiously –knowing where our products come from and how they are produced.

The No Dirty Gold campaign demands that the mining industry put an end to harmful gold mining practices. A basic agenda for reform would include the following:

•Respect the basic human rights outlined in international declarations and conventions, such as the UN "Universal Declaration of Human Rights," the draft "Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples," and others.
•Provide safe working conditions and respect workers' rights to collective bargaining, in accordance with the eight core conventions of the International Labor Organization.
•Refrain from projects that have not secured the free, prior, and informed consent of the communities concerned.
•Fully disclose information about the environmental and social effects of their projects.
•Stay out of protected areas.
•Stop dumping mine waste into natural bodies of water.
•Refrain from projects that are expected to cause acid drainage.
•Provide guaranteed funding, before beginning a project, that will fully cover reclamation and closure costs.
•Allow independent reviews of social and environmental management practices.

What you can do TODAY: Use your consumer power! Your signature will help convince retailers, manufacturers and mining companies that consumers want to see real changes in the mining industry--and an alternative to irresponsibly mined metals.
Sign the No Dirty Gold pledge, by going to: http://www.nodirtygold.org/take_action.cfm

"I support the No Dirty Gold campaign to end destructive gold mining practices. I call on retailers and manufacturers of gold jewelry, electronics, and other goods to work to ensure that the gold in their products was not produced at the expense of local communities, workers, and the environment. I demand that the global mining industry provide retailers and consumers an alternative to dirty gold."

What you can do THIS WEEK:
Start thinking about what you can do this fall on your campus. This may mean organizing an education campaign, spreading the word though tabling, getting signatures on the No Dirty Gold Pledge, or inviting a guest speaker to come and speak about the international/environmental impact of mining.

Another project to take up would be Class Rings. If your campus is a large purchaser of class rings, find out who your ring provider is and whether they have signed/will sign the No Dirty Gold pact. Also investigate where the gold used in the rings comes from and how the gold is being mined. For example, Jostens would be a good company to target. Currently, Jostens is one of the top ring provider for US college campuses. The US class ring market reached $495 million in total revenue in 2003, and Jostens’ holds an estimated 45% share of the market. To get Jostens to sign the No Dirty Gold pact would be a great campaign that colleges across the country could participate in!

Post your ideas, thoughts, questions and ideas! We want to year what YOU have to say.

If you are interested in receiving more information about No Dirty Gold, email us at: communityorganizer@oxfamamerica.org

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