By Arthur Zaczkiewicz
The convergence of activists working for human rights, health care reform, climate change, and social justice, among others is happening right now in Detroit, Mich. Over 20,000 people have flocked to the Motor City this week for the US Social Forum to exchange ideas, participate in people’s movement assemblies (PMAs) and attend (and present) 1,000s of workshops with topics ranging from grassroots networking to change immigration law to learning how to mobilize citizens for better access to public funds.
The mood here is upbeat, positive and progressive.
I’m here with Valeria A. Gheorghiu – Kingston attorney and activist – to present a session today with Rebecca Martin via Skype on how to create a garden democracy as well as how to leverage social media to bolster civic participation. This morning we both attended a caucus on food justice. The group is working on a declaration statement to be presented to the World Social Forum in Africa early next year. Valeria took several of the visioning “action items” from last month’s Kingston City Gardens Coalition meeting and presented it to the caucus. Stay tuned for a more detailed report from Valeria on this work, soon.
For my part, I helped with the editing and “wordsmithing” of the declaration, and I felt grateful to be participating in such an important and historical event. Social and environmental justice is a global movement. In Kingston, one aspect of this movement can be seen in community and school gardens. It’s being realized in the work of citizen volunteers who are helping to feed those in need, teaching people how to grow their own food, supporting locally produced and wholesome food, and – perhaps most important – working to control the destiny of our food source.
So, when whether you’re gardening in your veggie garden, helping to turn soil in a school garden or choosing a local apple over an out-of-state one at Adams Fairacre Farms, known that you’re part of something bigger. And when you sign a petition to ban oil drilling in the gulf or make a call to your Congressperson telling them to improve working conditions for low-wage earners, know that you are part of something that is global in nature. You are a part of the solution to create a better world.