This summer finds us busy as ever, expanding our social justice grantmaking and developing new dedicated funds to make that support go even further. At the same time, we're carrying out structural repairs on our building so we can keep 339 Lafayette Street as an indispensable movement center.
When you check out some of the projects we have funded recently, profiled in this issue, and read the accompanying letter from Rebecca Libed, I hope you will be inspired to increase your commitment to the Muste Institute. Rebecca came to us as a part-time staff member, served on our Board of Directors and now represents one of our sponsored groups. She has a unique perspective to share on the value of the Muste Institute's programs. Please join her in supporting us.
Counter-Recruitment Fund Launched
With an initial generous gift of $50,000 from an anonymous donor, the Muste Institute has established a special fund to support counter-recruitment organizing projects around the US. Institute board chair Peter Muste has donated his time to facilitate an advisory committee of counter-recruitment activists which will make grant decisions in collaboration with the board.
The fund's first deadline is July 15. Proposals will be accepted by email using a simplified application form, which will soon be posted on our website. We encourage grassroots groups doing counter-recruitment work to apply for support, and we invite donors to become partners with us in expanding this important effort. Please help us spread the word!
On April 9, 2006, some 13,000 people gathered at Julia Davis park in Boise, Idaho before marching to the state capitol as part of a national day of action in support of comprehensive immigration reform. Idaho Community Action Network (ICAN) http://icanweb.net/ helped to organize the demonstration, one of hundreds held across the US on April 9 and 10. An unprecedented number of people more than two million, according to most estimates took part in the coordinated actions, many of them in small towns and cities like Boise where the immigrant community has grown rapidly in recent years. A Muste Institute grant of $1,000 in June 2005 helped ICAN carry out a public education campaign in southern Idaho that helped set the stage for this year's immigrant rights rallies. The campaign used posters bearing the image of the Statue of Liberty and the slogan "Immigration is an American experience. Acceptance is an American value."
The Camden 28 www.camden28.org/, a documentary film which the Muste Institute supported with a $2,000 grant in 1999, was recently completed and has hit the festival circuit to popular acclaim. It premiered this past April at the 15th annual Philadelphia Film Festival, where it won both the Jury Prize and Audience Award for Best Documentary, becoming the first film ever to win both awards in the festival's history. It also received the highest audience rating out of all the 231 films aired. The Camden 28 now heads over to New York for the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, June 8-22. The film highlights the story of 28 anti-war activists, many of them from the "Catholic left," who were arrested in 1971 for the destruction of files at a draft board in Camden, New Jersey.
This past March, the Student Farmworker Alliance http://www.sfalliance.org/ once again joined with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers http://www.ciw-online.org/ in a public education and protest campaign for farmworker justice. The "2006 McDonald's Truth Tour: The Real Rights Tour" hit 17 major cities throughout the South and Midwest in 10 days. It culminated in a March 31 picket at the McDonald's company's global head quarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, and a 400-person march to a McDonald's in downtown Chicago on April 1-the fifth anniversary of the launch of the successful Taco Bell boycott. At the end of the march, the Coalition announced a new aggressive public education campaign targeting McDonald's and Chipotle, a quick-service Mexican restaurant chain controlled by McDonald's. Student Farmworker Alliance got a Muste Institute grant in September 2004 for its "Boot the Bell" campus organizing campaign, which ended in a precedent-setting April 2005 agreement with Taco Bell's parent company guaranteeing fair wages and labor conditions for tomato pickers.
Fifteen hundred people gathered to say YES! to peace and NO! to nuclear weapons at the Y12 Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee on August 5, 2005. The hydra-dragon answered the question: "Who profits from death?" at the puppet drama during the peace rally. Photo by Ralph Hutchison
The Muste Institute made two grants in April 2005 for events protesting nuclear weapons last August 6-9, the 60th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One grant of $1,000 went to Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA) www.stopthebombs.org/ to mobilize for a demonstration at the Y12 plant in Tennessee; a $1,500 grant went to Tri-Valley Cares www.trivalleycares.org/ for a rally and educational campaign at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. The two organizations coordinated their events nationally with groups protesting at the Nevada Test Site and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. (The Los Alamos action was led by Peace Action New Mexico www.peace-actionnm.org/, which received grants from the Muste Institute for similar actions in 2000 and 2002.)
In the weeks and months leading up to the actions, OREPA volunteers made more than 200 presentations in 18 states, educating people about the dangers of nuclear weapons and encouraging them to get involved. OREPA also co-sponsored a peace pilgrimage from Oak Ridge, Tennessee to the United Nations in New York, sponsored an Interfaith Convocation on the Global Nuclear Crisis the weekend before Hiroshima Day, and held a week-long workshop to build puppets for the demonstrations. The August 6 march and rally at the Y12 plant drew more than 1,500 people, including special guest Nakanishi Eiji, who survived the Hiroshima bombing at age three and is now a journalist in Japan. The local press gave positive coverage to what organizers said was the largest peace protest in East Tennessee history. One thousand people marched to the gates of the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab in California on August 6, 2005, marking the 60th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
Using connections made in last year's organizing, OREPA is now building for its 2006 commemoration, starting with a march and rally on Saturday, August 5, at the Y12 plant, which produced the enriched uranium for the Hiroshima bomb. The next day, August 6, will see a Hiroshima day "Remembrance and Hope" event at Y12, and the events will end on August 9-the day the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki-with a Peace Lantern Ceremony in Knoxville. In December, the Department of Energy announced plans for a new $2 billion bomb plant in Oak Ridge.
At the Livermore lab in California, Tri-Valley CAREs organized an August 6 rally last year that drew about 1,000 people. Over the preceding three months, organizers carried out a local door to-door campaign to inform residents of housing developments and low-income apartments about the upcoming protests and the dangers of the lab's activities. Tri-Valley CAREs produced bilingual literature, leafleted weekly at community events, and collected hundreds of letters asking Cgress to cut funds for nuclear weapons programs. Tri-Valley CAREs convened last year's August 6 national planning committee, and is now working in coalition on this year's planned actions: on August 6 at the Livermore lab and August 9 at Bechtel corporation.
This summer, the Muste Institute must repair and reinforce several large sections of the facade of our "Peace Pentagon," and rebuild bulkheads above our stairwells. We expect this work to cost between $50,000 and $100,000. For over thirty years, our building at 339 Lafayette Street has served as a vital headquarters for peace and social justice in New York City, providing affordable office and meeting space for dozens of movement groups. We urgently need your help to pay for these essential repairs. If you value all the important organizing that happens here, please help us keep this building going strong by sending your generous contribution check to the Muste Institute today, or by donating online at: www.justgive.org/giving/donate.jsp?charityId=4046& We appreciate your support!
New Grants, April 2006
POPULAR COMMITTEE AGAINST THE WALL AND THE SETTLEMENTS
KNOW ALL YOU CAN
VOICES ON THE