Kate Paarlberg-Kvam via Crowdrise
December 17, 2012
BENEFITING: Christian Peacemaker Teams
ORGANIZER: Christian Peacemaker Teams
EVENT: Mozilla Firefox Challenge
HOURS PLEDGED: 13,000
As 2012 draws to a close, I am approaching you (many of you for the second or third time) to ask you to support my work with Equipos Cristianos de Acción por la Paz in Colombia. ECAP/CPT is an accompaniment organization which trains and sends volunteer peacemakers to work in conflict zones: in the last 5 years CPT has worked in Colombia, in the West Bank, in Iraq, in the Congo, and with indigenous activists in Canada. This past summer I became a reservist with CPT, which means that I am committed to spending a couple months a year with them over the course of my three-year term.
Though there are many reasons why my work with CPT is important to me, three come to mind immediately:
(1) IT WORKS. In all of the conflict zones where CPT has a presence, local organizations (human rights defenders, activists, and communities) have reported seeing a reduction in violence correlated to the presence of international peacemakers. In Colombia, the team has been part of two major victories related to the community of Las Pavas, who suffered displacement and threats to their lives as a result of the fact that they were unlucky enough to live on fertile soil, a commodity much desired by multinational agribusinesses. In 2010, the courageous activism of the Las Pavas community, in combination with international efforts by CPT and others, resulted in The Body Shop, a British-based cosmetics company, essentially divesting from palm oil sold by the major company involved in the Las Pavas case. Even better, this year the farmers in Las Pavas won legal title to their land. You can read about the case here (http://www.cpt.org/cptnet/2012/11/26/colombia-rural-families-celebrate-ruling-las-pavas).
(2) IT IS DEDICATED TO FIGHTING THE GLOBAL STRUCTURES OF SUBORDINATION that privilege the lives of the powerful and undergird armed conflicts around the world. CPT and all of its members take on issues of racism, sexism, colonialism, and heterosexism as central challenges for our work, right on par with the conflicts that we work to disassemble around the world. The work isn't perfect: though it is a truly international and interfaith organization, CPT still struggles with issues of racism, sexism, colonialism, and heterosexism in its own work. But it is one of the only peacemaking organizations I know which dedicates itself to that struggle - to rooting out structures of oppression both within and outside of itself. This kind of action is required if the work is to be truly transformative, and yet there are thousands of "progressive" organizations which are afraid to do it. Not CPT.
(3) IT MATTERS TO ME... AND IT MATTERS TO YOU. So much of "charitable giving" is framed as simple charity, not required and not connected to our own well-being. I participate in CPT's work not only because it's fun (and it is); not only because I see results (and I do). I do it because structures of power - the kind that displace farmers from their land in favor of producing jet fuel, or coal, or cocaine, or gold, and that threaten and assassinate the activists who work to defend those farmers' rights - hurt me too. When the poor are targeted for the sake of the powerful, we all suffer - whether because it contributes to armed conflict, or hunger, or climate change, or international mistrust.
Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero once wrote, "Love is only a caricature of itself when it tries to offer as charity what it actually justly owes, or patches things up with the appearance of benevolence while it is failing at social justice. True love begins by demanding what is just from those who love one another." And so, in true love, I ask you to consider donating to CPT's work in Colombia. Your donation will go to help CPT continue working alongside threatened communities and activists, and support my trip to Colombia this coming summer. Even the littlest bit will help a lot.
Thanks so much for considering it, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday!
Equipos Cristianos de Acción por la Paz
We are an International organization working as allies for and partner with communities who are threatened with displacement and violence. We support their initiatives resist oppression and promote justice and peace.
The journey of nonviolent change is a long one. Though we've recently had positive news that has instilled hope in us and the communities of Las Pavas and Garzal and Nueva Esperanza. These farming communities have been defending their right to remain on the land in spite of violence, death threats and displacement.
Your support and advocacy for us this holiday season is vital. Most of our funding comes from individual donors and small institutions. This work cannot happen with out your voice and financial contributions.
If we raise the highest amount during the Mozilla Firefox Challenge (Nov 19, 2012 - Jan 10, 2013) Firefox will contribute $50,000 to our organization -- which will go a long way!
You can support us by donating and becoming a part of our team to help us reach this goal. If you have any question on how this works, let us know.