Supporting Nonviolence and Social Justice Since 1974.
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Muste Notes Summer 2009Muste Notes
Vol. 17, No. 1 — Fall 2009

Dear Friends
Hondurans Resist Coup
Youth Pave the Way at Counter-Recruitment Conference
Counter-Recruitment Grants, June 2009

Help Needed to Grow Social Justice Fund
Nonviolence Training Grants, July 2008 - June 2009
Travel Fund Gets New Name
Travel Grants, June 2009

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Past editions of Muste Notes are here

September 14, 2009

Dear Friends,

Every contribution that comes into our office brightens our day. We are truly thankful for your accompaniment in our work promoting active nonviolence.

If you were away when our last appeal letter arrived in the mail, please take a moment to read it on our website at http://ajmuste.org/June2009appeal.htm and respond with the largest contribution you can afford.

If you have given already, we ask you to consider giving again, and asking others to give.

Your help is urgently needed. The Muste Institute has no cash reserves; the funding to keep our programs going trickles in daily in the form of donations from all of you who are inspired by the projects we support.

Some of your gifts are small, some are large—and they all are critical to sustaining this important work. We realize that many of you are already giving as much as you can afford. If you know others who share our vision for a better world, you can help still more by reaching out and getting them involved.

If you’re shy about directly asking your friends to donate, you can share this newsletter, pass along the link to our website, and tell people what this work means to you. Many people still don’t know about the Muste Institute, so spreading the word is a vital first step.

Also, don't forget to make use of our pamphlets on nonviolence, featuring wisdom from Martin Luther King, Jr., Jeannette Rankin, Emma Goldman, Henry David Thoreau and more. These beautiful and affordable pamphlets make perfect gifts. Use the order form on the back page of Muste Notes to buy them for friends, for yourself, or to donate to your local library and schools.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Jeanne Strole and Jane Guskin

Hondurans Resist Coup

women in chains

Photo by COPINH

August 26, 2009: Members of COPINH, the Civic Council of Grassroots and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, chain themselves in front of the main cathedral in Tegucigalpa to protest the June 28 military coup and the de facto government’s criminalization of social movements. COPINH was the main organizer of last October’s Hemispheric Gathering Against Militarization, featured in the Winter 2009 issue of Muste Notes. Since the coup COPINH has been at the forefront of daily nonviolent protest actions like this one, which seek not to merely reverse the coup but to build participatory democracy in Honduras. For information about what you can do to support the Honduran social movements, see the website of Rights Action, a past Muste Institute grantee: http://rightsaction.org

Youth Pave the Way at Counter-Recruitment Conference
by Arlene Inouye

The Muste Institute’s Counter Recruitment Fund made a $1,500 grant for the National Counter-Recruitment and Demilitarization Conference organized in July by the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY). Muste Institute co-director Jeanne Strole attended and used the opportunity to connect groups with information and guidance about applying for grants. This article is by Arlene Inouye of the Los Angeles-based Coalition for Alternatives to Militarism in our Schools (CAMS), which received Muste Institute grants for counter-recruitment work in 2005 and 2008.

Project YANO plenary

A scene from one of the plenary sessions at the National Counter-Recruitment and Demilitarization Conference. Photo by Rick Jahnkow, Project YANO

Nearly 300 people from 35 states poured into the Friends Center and Roosevelt University in Chicago the weekend of July 17-19, 2009 for the National Counter-Recruitment and Demilitarization Conference. The faces represented what the counter recruitment movement is all about and how it has grown over the past five years into a diverse and vibrant grassroots movement, including veterans, youth, educators, parents and community activists.

CAMS was heavily involved in this conference. We invested many hours into planning, fundraising, and we brought along a team of eight youth and four adults from the Los Angeles area.

On Friday night, students, a conscientious objector, a long time counter-recruitment organizer and an activist/researcher in the Chicago schools shared their points of view in a panel on “Education, Militarism and Counter Recruitment: where we have come from and where we are going.” An analysis of the history of the counter-recruitment movement led us to the need for a long term strategy. Students talked about the activism they have initiated in their schools and the importance of adult mentors and teachers. The event ended with a ceremony awarding a graduation certificate and cap to David Morales, a student who was denied the right to graduate with his class because of his activism and opposition to firing ranges in the San Diego Unified School District.

On Sunday, breakout groups and a general session helped focus our work on specific goals and strategies to collaborate on in the coming year. These include: developing resources for youth by youth, including a list of music and videos with youth appeal; organizing a national campaign and research around JROTC; centralizing resources on expanded alternatives for different states; and using new data and technology to track enlistment, military programs and military van schedules.

I feel that the conference intentionally created the space for unrepresented groups to be validated. It was important to reach out to communities across the nation and offer scholarships for travel. This was made possible by grants from the Muste Institute and many national and local organizations and individuals. CAMS also raised funds through art shows, events and an appeal letter.

Project YANO plenary

Youth activists made up almost half the conference attendance. Groups of students traveled from California, New York, Georgia and other states, and youth volunteers from Chicago provided support at the conference site. Photo by Rick Jahnkow, Project YANO

Participants left the conference feeling empowered and equipped with key strategies and tools to take back to their communities. A day after the conference one veteran had already contacted his school district to find out about its Opt Out and ASVAB policies, and other activists started linking up with resources as soon as they got home.

I saw the youth from Los Angeles personally grow and soak up the experience, applying it to some further steps back home. One is ready to reactivate the peace club at Venice High School, several are working on sharing their stories on the radio for KPFK Pacifica Radio, and two community college students are collaborating on developing art projects for CAMS. A student at Pasadena City College was inspired to organize other students on campus as they face devastating budget cuts.

Can a weekend really make that much difference? I believe that the youth will never forget the experience, and that the conference signified the uniting and turning point of the counter recruitment movement in an unprecedented way.

Counter-Recruitment Grants, June 2009

The Muste Institute’s Counter Recruitment Fund makes small grants for grassroots efforts to inform young people about the realities of military service, help them protect their privacy from recruiters and refer them to non-military education and employment options. Our next deadlines for proposals are  October 5, 2009 and February 8, 2010. Guidelines are on our website at www.ajmuste.org/counter-recruit.htm.

American Friends Service Committee, San Francisco Chapter, San Francisco, CA: $1,000 for Full Picture, a program to expand outreach and education about the realities of military service to youth in Bay Area schools with high recruitment rates. www.afsc.org/sanfrancisco

Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center, Cincinnati, OH: $500 to distribute educational materials to guidance counselors in Cincinnati area public schools.www.ijpc-cincinnati.org

Indigenous Youth Sovereignty Project, Denver, CO: $1,500 to bring a caravan of activists from California to the counterrecruitment conference in Chicago, and for an educational summit in Denver for the caravan and local activists.

National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY), Pacific Palisades, CA: $1,500 for the National Counter-Recruitment and Demilitarization Conference. www.nnomy.org

Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, Madison, WI: $500 for coordination with other groups in Wisconsin to distribute educational materials to guidance counselors in the public schools. www.wnpj.org

Help Needed to Grow Social Justice Fund

Thanks to your donations over the past six months, we are thrilled to announce the return of the Social Justice Fund (formerly known as general grants), supporting grassroots activist projects around the world. Applicants can review the new guidelines on our website and email in a simple form. Groups selected in a screening process will be asked to submit additional information for a final decision. The new process will save on time, money and trees.

Unfortunately we can only make up to 10 grants from this fund over the coming year. Please help us raise an additional $20,000 in modest contributions from new donors, so we can expand this program and support more organizing projects. If each of us sends this request to 10 people who care about social justice, but who don’t yet know about the Muste Institute, we can do it.

Nonviolence Training Grants, July 2008 - June 2009

The International Nonviolence Training Fund (INTF) makes grants for nonviolence trainings outside the U.S. or in indigenous communities within the U.S. The next deadline is December 4, 2009. Guidelines and application forms are on our website at www.ajmuste.org/guidintf.htm.

Kenya training

In a training organized by Kenya Pastoralist Journalist Network, Asha Ahmed, Chair of Women Peacebuilders, leads participants in analyzing the challenges of conflict.

Forthspring Inter Community Group, Belfast, Northern Ireland: $3,000 in June 2009 for a nonviolence training with Forthspring staff and community activists, designed to develop skills within the group and local community to address the legacy of conflict. www.forthspring.org.uk

House for Peace and Nonviolence, St. Petersburg, Russia: $3,000 in December 2008 for the “Initiative for Nonviolence in Russia (including Chechnya),” a nonviolence training for young activists.

Kenya Pastoralist Journalist Network, Garissa, Kenya: $2,500 in June 2009 for a training to build the capacity of pastoralist communities to use nonviolent strategies to confront and prevent violence and armed conflict in their areas.

conference in India

Women from marginalized neighborhoods in Kolkata, India take part in Swadhina’s nonviolence and empowerment training.

Korea Solidarity for Conscientious Objection (KSCO), Seoul, South Korea: $3,000 in April 2009 for a training on nonviolence and conscientious objection.

Peace Makers Society Cameroon, Nkwen Bamenda, North West Region, Cameroon: $1,979 in June 2009 for a participatory grassroots nonviolence training for women group leaders of villages involved in inter-tribal conflicts.

RAND – Regionalna Adresa za Nenasilno Djelovanje (Regional Address for Nonviolent Action), Sesvete, Croatia: $3,000 in January 2009 for a training for activists and community workers from Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro, to provide them with tools to strengthen nonviolent action and group conflict transformation throughout their communities and the region. www.rand.hr

Swadhina, Kolkata, India: $3,000 in June 2009 for a training promoting awareness about nonviolent action and encouraging leadership development among women to help them organize nonviolently for justice. www.swadhina.org.in

Travel Fund Gets New Name

The NOVA Travel Fund is now called the Adalys Vázquez Solidarity Travel Fund. The new name honors a founding member of the Travel Fund Committee, Adalys Vázquez Ramírez, who lost a battle with cancer on March 16, 2009, at age 45. From 1992 until her death, Adalys worked at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center in Havana, Cuba, encouraging participation in campaigns and networks against free trade, the debt, militarization and war. She was also a lay leader and popular educator in the Baptist church.

Adalys Vázquez

Adalys Vázquez, 1963-2009

We have renamed the fund for Adalys because so many women activists dedicate their lives to social justice without getting recognition for their contributions; their labor disappears behind a veil of invisibility. We resist this invisibility for Adalys and for all the grassroots activists, especially women, who benefit from our travel grants.

By including solidarity in the fund’s new name, we recognize the spirit that guides our grantees when they agree to raise money from their own communities and economize on their trips, so that more groups can benefit from travel grants. We hope this same solidarity will inspire many people, especially those who have traveled in Latin America, to donate so that activists from the region can take part in gatherings to coordinate social movements and develop grassroots leadership.

Travel Grants, June 2009

The Adalys Vázquez Solidarity Travel Fund helps grassroots activists from Latin America, the Caribbean and indigenous territories throughout the hemisphere to participate in regional meetings. The next deadlines are October 1 and December 1, 2009. Guidelines are on our website in English at http://ajmuste.org/novaintro-eng.html, and in Spanish at http://ajmuste.org/novaintro.html.

women's demonstration in Bolivia

The Second Americas Gathering of the World March of Women culminated on August 12 with a march through the streets of Cochabamba, Bolivia, to protest the military coup in Honduras. With support from the Travel Fund, activists came from all over the continent to coordinate action plans for women’s economic autonomy, common good and access to public services, peace and demilitarization and an end to gender violence. Photo by World March of Women

Centro de Atividades Comunitárias de São João de Meriti – CAC (São João De Meriti Community Activity Center- CAC), São João de Meriti, Brazil: $1,500 for six women literacy activists to participate in the Reading Congress of Brazil (COLE) - Campinas, held July 20-24, 2009 in Campinas, Brazil.

Colectivo Feminista Mercedes Olivera y Bustamante A.C. (Mercedes Olivera y Bustamante Feminist Collective), San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas,  Mexico: $891.38 for Marissa Zepeda Revilla to represent the Feminist Collective and the World March of Women - Mexico at the Second Americas Gathering of the World March of Women, held August 10-12, 2009 in Cochabamba, Bolivia. mmmchiapas.wordpress.com

Trans Tango activists

TransTango activists Cosme Córdova as "Marisú" (left) and Cayetana Salao as "El Tano" (right) perform "Solo en el Tango" ("Only in Tango"), a theatrical exploration of gender identity and transformation, at a gathering on cultural rights held in Bogotá, Colombia. Photo by Alba Pons

Colectivo Tr@ns Tango, Quito, Ecuador: $1,000 for Cayetana Salao and Cosme Córdova to participate in the7th Annual Gathering Citizenships on Stage: The Entrances and Exits of Cultural Rights, held August 21-30, 2009, at the National University of Colombia in Bogotá. transtango.blogspot.com

Confederación Nacional Agraria (CNA, National Agrarian Federation), Lima, Peru: $972 for Justo Carlos Ríos of the Tupac Amaru II Regional Agrarian Federation Cusco (FARTAC) to participate in the Latin American Political Theory Course - Third Term, taking place from July 20 through November 30, 2009 at the Florestan Fernandes National School in Guararema, Brazil. www.cna.org.pe

roundtable discussion in Bogotá

Cayetana Salao speaks at a round table discussion in Bogotá about the work of TransTango, "a collective committed to the subversion of the patriarchal and heterosexist order, and to the right of sexually diverse identities to occupy public space and participate in the cultural life of the community." Photo by Cosme Córdova

Fundación Artistica Casa de Hierro (Iron House Artistic Foundation), Barranquilla, Colombia: $700 for Fadir Delgado and Luis Altamar to participate in the OURMedia/NUESTROSMedios conference "Comunication, Conflict and Coexistence: Individual and Collective Narratives," held July 27-31, 2009 in Rionegro, Colombia.

Marcha Mundial de Mujeres - Secretariado Internacional (World March of Women - International Secretariat),  São Paulo, Brazil: $2,360 for base-level women activists from Latin America to participate in the First Americas Gathering of the World March of Women, held August 10-12, 2009 in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This special grant was made possible by a donor's generous gift through the Tides Foundation. www.marchemondiale.org

Total Travel Fund grants (6): $7,307.38