This has been a time different from most any other—living in the time of an incurable, highly contagious virus that has now spread to all major continents. While a small group of us have kept working at our International Resource Center in Indiana our retail store has been closed and continues to lose substantial sales (which would have benefited our producer partners) during now canceled festivals and public events. This loss of opportunity harms those who can least afford it. The main purpose of the fair trade project is to help low-income producers benefit by expanding democracy through cooperation between them and the consumer. (See www.fairtradefederation.org to review fair trade ethical principles of doing business fairly.) We are working to update our online presence, but that won’t replace the personal connections we’ve made over nearly 50 years! We will need to address this brave new world in ways that we, as a young David, can overcome the unfairness of giants that are managed like Amazon. Our mission is to create new ways people can connect with others for mutual benefit, allowing us to vote each time we spend our dollars, working for fairness when purchasing ethically.
This “new normal” opens doors to a more equitable economy along with a more civilized society. The recent unnecessary deaths recorded publicly have opened up the chance for badly needed changes in our institutions. Younger folks are finding new ways to come together and work for more openness and honesty in the public discourse. While respecting our own people of color, we also have used our global connections to provide assistance to those suffering around the world.
A number of generous donations have helped us channel grants for coronavirus relief projects in Syria, Uganda, India, and Colombia totaling more than $30,000. In addition, we’ve ordered fresh supplies of products from the Middle East, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Haiti. (Now that we are well-stocked, we need to recreate our fair trade business to reflect the new economy.)
We are encouraging serious discussion through several small events requiring masks, sanitizer, and social distancing. The first will feature artistic performances representing local artists from a variety of ethnic cultural traditions, all of which will be streamed and taped for showing on Public Access TV on July 26. More soon.
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