[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Sweatfree in Philly, 12/7 (with Dennis Brutus)
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Sun Jun 29 14:25:52 BST 2008
SweatFree Communities Conference - Workers Rights Board Hearing in Philly
Start: July 12 2008
Register for the conference at www.sweatfree.org
Speakers will include:
* Carmencita "Chie" Abad, former sweatshop worker in U.S. territory of
* Kalpona Akter, former child garment worker from Bangladesh
* Dennis Brutus, human rights activist
* Bishop Dwayne Royster, Pastor of the Living Water United Church of
* ...and many more!
The Philadelphia Workers' Rights Board is a project of the Philadelphia
Area Jobs with Justice, a coalition of faith leaders, students, unions,
and community members who fight for living wages, top-notch benefits,
and respect on the job for people in Philadelphia. SweatFree Communities
is a national network that organizes to end sweatshop exploitation by
inspiring responsible local purchasing and fostering solidarity between
U.S. communities and workers worldwide. This event is part of the
National SweatFree Summit. Visit http://www.sweatfree.org/summit or
contact summit(at)sweatfree(dot)org for more information.
CARMENCITA "CHIE" ABAD speaks from personal experience about the
hardships endured by millions of workers in sweatshops around the world.
Chie spent six years as a garment worker on the Pacific island of
Saipan, a U.S. territory. She endured wretched conditions, frequently
working 14-hour shifts in order to meet arbitrary production quotas for
her employer, the Sako Corporation, which made clothes for the Gap and
other retailers. When she tried to organize a union, Chie was met by
fierce resistance from management and eventually lost her job. She now
lives in the U.S., and works with Global Exchange to educate consumers
about the inhumane factory conditions occurring worldwide, including on
U.S. soil. Chie was instrumental in forcing 26 major retailers to settle
a lawsuit in September 2002 to improve conditions in Saipan. Her story
is an inspiring example of how people can win if they stand up for their
KALPONA AKTER became a child garment worker when she was 11 years old.
She worked in a Bangladeshi garment factory for eight years and
struggled to form a worker union in her factory. Due to her organizing
efforts, she was fired and blacklisted. Now, as the Director of
Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, she supports labor union
organizing; helps workers strengthen their negotiating skills and make
legal complaints; and investigates labor conditions in factories
producing for institutions with sweatshop-free sourcing policies.
Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity's research is respected
domestically and internationally, enjoys the trust of garment workers,
and has a track record of producing thorough and credible research in
the apparel sector.
DENNIS BRUTUS is a lifelong human rights activist and poet. He is
perhaps the best-known African poet writing in English, although his
books were banned for many years in his home country South Africa. His
tireless work against apartheid in South Africa got him arrested and
shot in 1963. He was sentenced to an 18-month jail term with hard labor
on Robben Island where he broke rocks with Nelson Mandela. He was sent
into exile in 1966 and proceeded to lead the successful movement to have
South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) banned from the Olympics and
other international sporting events. Since then he has remained active
in struggles for human and cultural rights, including co-founding the
Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance in 2002, connecting
international solidarity with workers to the philosophy of Black
Consciousness. He is currently Professor Emeritus in the Department of
Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.
BISHOP ROYSTER has served in Pastoral ministry for the past 16 years in
United Methodist Church, the Mennonite Church and the Baptist Church
traditions, and is the founder of Living Water United Church of Christ.
Bishop Royster is an advocate for preparing congregations for the
ministry of availability. He is fond of saying that, "Ministry should
not be limited to Sunday mornings." It is with this passion that Bishop
Royster became involved with Jobs with Justice supporting workers across
the Delaware Valley to let them know that the faith community will not
sit by and allow injustice and oppression live in any form.
These events are part of the National SweatFree Summit. To register for
the Summit or to sponsor the event, go here. Please contact us if you
can spread the word about these events in newsletters, church bulletins,
email lists, etc.
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