On this International Day of Peasants’ Struggle, we recognize the courage, tenacity and absolute necessity of grassroots struggles across the world for rights to land, life and dignity.
And we recognize that all-too-often peasants continue to face threats, repression and even death. In fact, that is why this day was first commemorated, following the murder of 19 peasant land rights activists in Brazil in 1996.
This year, we invite you to join Grassroots International honoring those who have paid the ultimate price for their activism, and those who carry the work forward now despite the real dangers they face by contributing to the Presente Fund.
The Presente Fund has enabled Grassroots to respond to urgent needs for human rights defense. Some recent examples of such grave threats to human rights and civil liberties include:
- Agrarian reform activist and Via Campesina leader, Rafael Alegria, faces death threats in Honduras
- Landless families in Brazil’s Serro Azul encampment continue to endure violence while waiting for legal title to their land
- Palestinian youth organizer Hassan Karajah endures detention without charges for protesting illegal Israeli settlements and resisting occupation
These are just a few of the challenges Grassroots International’s partners – around the world – brave on a daily basis. Currently peasants and small farmers grow roughly 70 percent of the world’s food. Yet they face contempt, exploitation and threats, as industrial agricultural corporations and mega projects (like dams and mines) push them aside.
Why Presente? The call of “Presente” in Latin America has been used to honor and call forth those who had died in the struggle for peace and justice. And that’s the response Grassroots seeks to provide every time one of our partners confronts inequality and injustice.
The Presente Fund at Grassroots International also celebrates the conviction of donors and activists to support and stand in solidarity with human rights struggles around the world. Two such donors – Martha Miller and Robbie Gamble – established the Presente Fund at Grassroots International almost a decade ago. “Through the Presente Fund we have honored those who have died and those living today who remain committed to the work of social justice,” said Martha. “I hope we can be an example for others to give in this way.”
On this International Day of Peasants’ Struggle, join us in saying “Presente!” and supporting those who continue to work for human rights. Your gift provides much-needed financial support and solidarity to those whose lives and livelihoods are in the crosshairs.