by Keren Soffer Sharon & Zahara Zahav, Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (June 13, 2016)
Grassroots Internationalism is a core element of JFREJ’s Strategic Vision. This means tying domestic issues to their international causes and effects, starting with the local and linking it to the global. It requires mutual solidarity, forged over time between “front line” communities around the world who are suffering from the effects of oppressive global systems.
In May 2016, the two of us had the honor of representing JFREJ at the first ever Feminist Organizing School (FOS), hosted by Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
When JFREJ joined GGJ this past year, we became part of a powerful network of grassroots organizations working around the country to build power for workers, low-income communities, and communities of color. Attending FOS gave us an incredible opportunity to meet, learn from, and build with folks, similar to us, who are organizing around racial justice, worker rights, immigration, demilitarization, and environmental justice issues within their local communities.
It also gave us a glimpse into some incredible movement-building that’s happening through an international feminist action network called The World March of Women (WMW). The WMW connects grassroots groups around the world who are working to eliminate the root causes of poverty and violence against women, with membership in over 65 countries. Grassroots Global Justice Alliance is the national coordinating body for the U.S. Chapter of the WMW, connecting its grassroots members,many of whom are our longstanding partners (like CAAAV, FIERCE, Make the Road NY, and Community Voices Heard), to global struggles. While the WMW began as a campaign against poverty in 2000, it now organizes around four key action areas: Peace and Demilitarization, Women’s Economic Autonomy, Common Goods and Public Services, and Violence Against Women.
When we arrived in Albuquerque, we went straight to an action organized by theSouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP), an organization born out of the Chicano movement of the 1970s, directed at the Governor for putting corporate interests before education and childcare for New Mexican youth. It was a beautiful entry point for us into the organizing that’s happening on the ground in one of the poorest states in the country, led by multiple generations of organizers who have been fighting for racial justice, voter rights, and food sovereignty in their community for over 35 years.