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Brazilian Land Rights Activist in Boston

July 2010

Grassroots International and U.S. Friends of the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (FMST) are delighted to host Ana Justo, from the Florestan Fernandes National School of the Landless Workers Movement (MST), a Grassroots International partner and a member of the Via Campesina. She will be speaking Thursday, July 8 at Encuentro 5 in Boston at 6 p.m. Click here for more information.

Ana Justo has been a lead organizer of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra – MST) for 23 of its 25 years. The largest social movement in Latin America, the MST has 1.5 million members in 23 out 27 Brazilian states. The MST struggles for land reform, access to healthcare, schools, organic production and infrastructure development by promoting a ground-up sustainable development model based on the needs of Brazil’s rural population. The MST is linked internationally to peasant movements through La Via Campesina. Ana coordinates the Secretariat of the MST’s Florestan Fernandes National School located in Guararema, Sao Paulo.   The Landless Workers Movement has been working for 25 years to redress extreme inequality in Brazil, where fewer than two percent of landowners control nearly half of all arable land. The MST’s strategy involves using a constitutional clause that idle land be used for the social good. Through the Florestan Fernandes National School, Ana Justo and others coordinate trainings for MST’s members and representatives of ally organizations from Brazil and abroad. Several Grassroots International partner organizations, including Haiti’s Peasant Movement of Papaye and the Association of Rural Workers from Nicaragua, have participated in the school’s trainings.   Grassroots International supports learning exchanges and capacity building projects of the MST and similar initiatives in Latin America, the Caribbean region, the Middle East, and Africa and Asia. The MST currently provides educational trainings to 15,000 of its members. At present, the organization has several of its members enrolled in undergraduate and graduate level courses. According to Dawn Plummer, a member of the New York chapter of the FMST, “The work of MST in Brazil should be an inspiration for progressive social movements around the globe.”   “Ana Justo’s visit to Boston comes at the perfect time, as grassroots organizations from Boston (and throughout the nation) participated last month in the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit. Ana will offer us insights about popular education, which is critical to the development of our work around social justice here in the United States and abroad,” stated Nikhil Aziz, Executive Director of Grassroots International.  

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