As social movements are increasingly reconvening in person, so are movement allies. This past month, Grassroots International staff dusted off our luggage to take part in several major gatherings, and we’re now packing our bags for more.
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Our first stop was the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ) Membership Assembly in Oakland, California. There, grassroots organizations of working and poor people and communities of color from across the US converged to connect, exchange, and strategize on building power around climate justice, gender justice, an end to war, and a just transition to the next economy. Given GGJ’s strong internationalist lens, the presence of international allies, along with national ones, is a key component of each assembly.
Grassroots International was honored both to participate in the GGJ assembly as a resource ally and to accompany international movement partners and allies in the space, including those from Haiti, Brazil, and Palestine. As one of our Brazilian comrades from the Landless Workers Movement shared in a plenary on Power and Strategy, “Political formation is a permanent task… and it’s not possible to do political formation without internationalism.”
While GGJ members benefited from the presence of their international counterparts, the exchange went both ways. Our staff members present expressed that “It was powerful to have our partners there at a convening of grassroots frontline organizations with the political orientation of GGJ, and for them to see how folks in the US are organizing in a way that’s often not visible from outside the US.”
Environmental Grantmakers Association
Our next stop was the Environmental Grantmakers Association Fall Retreat in Chicago, where we also accompanied a number of movement partners, and facilitated the virtual participation of several others, to bring voices straight from the frontlines into this key funder space. Sessions organized/co-organized by Grassroots International included “Global Black, Indigenous, and Afro-descendent Perspectives for Movement-Led Transitions” and “From Crises to Justice: Building Collective Power for Transformation – Global Green New Deal and the Role of Philanthropy” as well as a special pre-institute training on “Finding Your Pathway to Funding Frontline Solutions for Climate Justice.”
As our executive director Chung-Wha Hong drove home in one of these sessions, the task of progressive funders is not only to move more resources to the critical work on the ground, but to organize for much-needed broader shifts within philanthropy. “Our speakers represent millions of organized frontline communities working on articulate solutions, with campaign strategies and everything,” said Chung-Wha. “As funders, we need to organize. We can’t just be happy doing the right thing ourselves… We have to impact the billions of dollars that are moving right now without any sort of accountability to the movements. And so that is our job – that’s what we can do to support these movement leaders.”
Onwards to COP27
As we write, two of our staff members are now packing their bags for the COP27 climate summit in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. There, they will join our global movement partners La Via Campesina and partners from West Africa, the Middle East, and other regions in exposing false solutions to the climate crisis and advancing real ones grounded in climate justice, food sovereignty, and grassroots feminisms.
Please stay tuned for much more to come!