As we prepare for the long holiday weekend all across the country, we at Global Exchange are taking some time to reflect on ideas of freedom that we have been working on together with you.  From the US Social Forum, to reaffirming our independence from oil to ending the travel ban to Cuba, join us as we share with you four ways to think about freedom on the Fourth of July.

  • From June 18th-22nd, thousands of activists from around the country converged in Detroit for the US Social Forum to look at ways that the social movement can grow and connect to each other. Global Exchange was there showing a film about the Climate Conference in Cochabamba, Bolivia and how it connects to local struggles for Climate Justice around the world. In Michigan, our local organizers introduced the summer Green Economy Leadership Program (GELT) bringing youth and local communities together to rebuild Detroit from the ground up.  (Read more about Global Exchange at the US Social Forum)

    photo credit: US Social Forum

  • As we begin to build a more just and sustainable world in our local communities, we must also declare our independence from an empire of debt and energy dependency. TJ Buonomo of our Chevron Program writes a great piece urging us to do just this and lends strong support for domestic renewable energy.
  • Another victory for freedom is just in our horizon as the fight to end the travel ban to Cuba reached a milestone this week. On Wednesday, the House Committee on Agriculture passed the “Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act” putting us one step closer to ending the travel ban this year and setting the stage for a more humane, sensible, and just U.S. policy towards Cuba. Check out all the ways you could experience Cuba for yourself.
  • Lastly, what better way to ring in the holiday weekend than by participating in our Summer time Fair Trade S’mores campaign. This Fourth of July kicks off the beginning of the most delicious political action you can take this summer, by calling on Hershey’s and the rest of the cocoa industry to help alleviate poverty and end abusive child labor in the cocoa fields and make the switch to Fair Trade. Celebrate the freedom and independence small-scale Fair Trade farmers have in a system that empowers them to escape the cycle where profits rule and maintain their traditional lifestyle with dignity.

From the urban gardens in Detroit to the cocoa farms in Africa, Global Exchange continues to work towards a more just, equitable, and sustainable society. As the US Social Forum taught us, another world is possible and the only way to achieve this change is by taking action into our own hands. As our founding fathers and mothers taught us, freedom and justice for all can be achieved if we stand together.