The Common Good
May-June 2000

Resources for Study and Action

by Ryan Beiler | May-June 2000

Speak Up!

Speak Up!

Started in the U.K. but seeking to expand internationally, SPEAK is a network of mainly students and young people of faith whose vision is "To transform situations of injustice through linking people together to use their voice and pray for change." Their efforts center around bimonthly "Pray and Post" campaigns, which include a prayer card and a campaign post card (often addressed to a government official) aimed at impacting policy on a justice issue. Past campaigns have included East Timor advocacy, Jubilee 2000, the campaign to ban landmines, and garment workers’ rights.

SPEAK also facilitates the formation of small groups to meet regularly for action and prayer and, though based on Christ-centered spirituality, welcomes people of all beliefs to network in their efforts. Contact: SPEAK, The Beacon, 17 Fleet Road, Hampstead, London NW3 2QR, United Kingdom; +44 (0)171 424 0610; speak@speak.org.uk; www.speak.org.uk.

Sewing Justice

Through the Eye of a Needle is a five-week study guide produced by Pax Christi USA to examine consumer culture through the lens of Christian faith and Catholic social teaching. Participants are encouraged to keep a "buying journal" to examine their purchasing habits, and are challenged on themes such as over-consumption, the environment, sweatshops, child labor, and voluntary simplicity. Cost is $5 (plus $1.50 shipping). Contact: Pax Christi USA, West 8th St., Erie, PA 16502- 1343; (814) 453-4955; maryellen@paxchristiusa.org; www.nonviolence.org/pcusa.

Campaign for Cuba

While most recent coverage concerning Cuba has focused on issues other than the embargo, an organizing packet from the Latin America Working Group provides concrete and practical steps to put U.S.-Cuba policy in the campaign this election year.

Balanced and accurate, the packet contains messages from the religious and business communities, organizing tools and strategies, and other helpful information all aimed at ending the embargo on food and medicine that has caused unnecessary suffering to the Cuban people and only strengthened the resolve of the Castro regime. Contact LAWG, 110 Maryland Ave. NE, Box 15, Washington, DC 20002; (202) 546-7010; lawg@lawg.org; www.lawg.org.

The Good NSA

Don’t let the initials frighten you—the National Security Archive is on your side. A nongovernmental research organization, the archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act. It’s one of the best ways to get the dirt on exploits by government spooks such as the other NSA (the National Security Agency), the CIA, and the Department of Defense—and other governments as well.

The NSA Web site includes such gems as classified cables detailing CIA involvement in Chile’s coup and dirty war, Pentagon files describing the U.S. training of the Guatemalan officer allegedly responsible for the murder of Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi, and documents on the formation of the ECHELON intelligence network. Visit www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv or contact The National Security Archive, The Gelman Library, Suite 701, 2130 H St. NW, Washington, DC 20037, (202) 994-7000; nsarchiv@gwu.edu.

Media from the Margins

Green Valley Media is a nonprofit film and video company that attempts to promote voices rarely heard in the mainstream. Its award-winning productions have focused on themes of women and human rights, the struggle for democracy in Latin America, and the Bread and Puppet Theater.

Their films have been broadcast on PBS and are used by universities, churches, and nonprofits worldwide. Productions are rated for audience level (elementary through adult) and are priced for institutions or individuals and low-income groups. Contact Green Valley Media, 300 Maple St., Burlington, VT 05401; (802) 862-4929; rlloyd@together.net.

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