Grassroots International recently participated in the 2015 Just Giving Conference sponsored by EDGE Funders Alliance. Entitled “Better. Not More: Towards a Just Transition,” the conference worked to create a space within philanthropy to explore the deeper philosophical ideas that animate contemporary politics, economy, and culture. Within this space, participants were encouraged to consider four goals for the transition to a just economy: 1) Decommodify nature; 2) Reimagine work; 3) Liberate knowledge; and 4) Democratize wealth.
Grassroots International served as a member of the Planning Committee, and also co-sponsored three workshops within the conference, bringing partners and grantees from Mozambique, Nicaragua, Haiti and India to the gathering to present on these topics:
- Feminism within the movements: political education as a strategy for building a just transition examined how social movements have been working to achieve gender balance and integrating demands for women’s rights in their movement work. Cosponsored by IDEX and the Global Fund for Women, the workshop was moderated by Chung-Wha Hong, Executive Director of Grassroots International, and included as speakers Cindy Wiesner, National Coordinator, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance; Graça Samo, Coordinator of the International Secretariat, World March of Women, Maputo, Mozambique; and Maria Jose Urbina, Coordinator of the National Women Commission, Association of Rural Workers, Leon, Nicaragua.
- #Black Lives Matter explored lessons from #BlackLivesMatter movement-building efforts in the US, as well as international connections around climate justice and other global movement-building themes. The workshop featured Chavannes Jean-Baptiste of the Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPP, Haiti); Alicia Garza, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter and National Organizer, National Domestic Workers Alliance (San Francisco); Tanya Dawkins of the Global-Local Links Project; and Opal Tometi, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter and Executive Director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration (New York). Co-sponsored by Global-Local Links Project, Fund for Democratic Communities and the Chorus Foundation.
- For a Just Transition to Food Sovereignty and Climate Justice: Agroecology, seeds and land. With the current climate and the food crises being intimately linked, and the industrial food system – from farm to supermarket – largely responsible for both, this workshop looked at how groups are scaling up and expanding agroecology through advocacy, education and mobilization – with the aim of building up food sovereignty. Speakers included: Sara Mersha, Grassroots International (moderator); Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, La Via Campesina (Haiti); Silvia Ribeiro, ETC Group (Mexico); and Henk Hobbelink, Coordinator, GRAIN (Spain). Co-sponsored by CS Fund, New Field Foundation, 11th Hour Project, and American Jewish World Service.