Supporting Nonviolence and Social Justice Since 1974.
339 Lafayette Street, New York, New York 10012 (212) 533-4335 Fax: (212) 228-6193 [email protected]

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June 22, 2009

Dear Friends,

We are privileged to be part of a unique resource for the social justice movement: the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute. As members of the board, we are stepping up our support for the Institute and we urge you to join us.

Thanks to your contributions, people resisting militarism and injustice across the globe, against steep odds and often in dangerous situations, can rely on the support of the Muste Institute.

The old saying goes: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." The communities we support already know how to fish, how to farm, and how to organize themselves. But the fish they rely on are being killed off by corporate fishing operations, or poisoned by toxic dumping; they are being displaced from their farmland by violence and harmful trade policies; and when they organize for a better life, they are attacked. That's why we focus our efforts not on “teaching people how to fish,” but on responding when their communities seek our support to more effectively mobilize for justice.

Over the past two years, your gifts have helped us boost the efforts of grassroots groups who:

• organize women factory workers in Pakistan and Nicaragua;
• build the power of disenfranchised communities in Alabama, New York and South Florida;
• help formerly incarcerated people in Massachusetts, California and El Salvador confront systemic injustice;
• work with indigenous peoples defending their territory and culture in Argentina and Colombia;
• mobilize and educate the public to back fairness for immigrants in Oregon and Rhode Island;
• expand opposition to the death penalty in Missouri and New Jersey;
• and educate the public about the dangers of nuclear weapons.

Over these same two years we provided key funding to nearly 100 Latin American grassroots groups to allow them to exchange strategies and build leadership at regional meetings, and to more than 30 projects educating youth in the United States about alternatives to military service. We distributed thousands of pamphlets on nonviolence, and served two dozen sponsored projects working to end war and US military intervention, empower street vendors, defend civil rights and protect the environment. And we provided an affordable New York City home to groups organizing for demilitarization, affordable housing and alternative media.

All this amazing work is sustained by solidarity giving from people who recognize the importance of sharing resources for the common good.

Like most of you, we are not wealthy; the Muste Institute board is made up of activists who share your commitment to nonviolent organizing for social justice. Today each of us is pledging to donate or raise $500 over the next two months, above and beyond our usual contributions of time and money, so that the Muste Institute can expand its support for nonviolent action. Some of us will write a check for $500, others will ask 10 friends to donate $50 each. But our efforts alone are not enough; we need you to join us in this commitment.

Please give today: send the largest contribution you can afford to the Muste Institute at 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012, or donate through our website by clicking here.

Thank you for standing with us, and with the projects we support, in building a just and nonviolent future.

In solidarity,

Susan Kent Cakars
James Cole
Christine Halvorson
Carol Kalafatic
Bernice Lanning
Peter Muste
Jill Sternberg
Nina Streich
David McReynolds
Robert Taylor
Martha Thomases
John Zirinsky

P.S. If you are able to sustain our work with gifts from stock or IRA accounts, or are considering bequests, endowments or other planned giving options, please contact Muste Institute co-directors Jeanne Strole or Jane Guskin to discuss details.

P.P.S. A separate fundraising campaign is under way to cover the costs of an in-depth engineering survey that will help us determine the future of our building, the Peace Pentagon, a safe space for radical nonviolent organizing in New York City. If your life has been changed by the work that goes on in this building, we urge you to get involved in this effort as you continue to support our other program work. For details, see our letter and an update on the building page of this website.