With the holidays nearing, we thought we’d take the opportunity to reflect on some of the people who have joined us in the struggle for peace and justice. It’s only when we come together that we can create the change we need, and we are grateful for each and every person in the movement.

As our way of saying thanks to a few of the people we’ve worked with over the past quarter century, we’ve put a little something together. Check it out!

“Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
your heart is true you’re a pal and a confidant”

~Andrew Gold, Thank You for Being a Friend

Once again, thank you to everyone working for change. Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s working!


Mark your calendar  – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is #GivingTuesday. Join Global Exchange and millions around the world on one day of giving (back).



Are you a Global Exchange supporter? Yes? Well then, you are pretty incredible, it’s true.

Throughout our near-25 years we’ve been proud to share the esteemed company of thousands of passionate, bold, and dedicated people, like you.

Your volunteering, your steady contributions, your protesting (at home and on the streets), your consideration for socially responsible travel, your Fair Trade shopping and your faith in justice – all of these actions mean the difference between dreaming a better world for people and the planet and actually making it happen.

To express our gratitude, some Global Exchange staff members gathered together recently to come up with a way to thank the people who make all of our work possible. 

The result is this short n sweet video filled with messages of thanks that come from the bottom of our hearts. We hope you enjoy it! (Oh, and keep an eye out for Abad’s cameo – Global Exchange’s friendly Labrador – who got caught with his tongue out!)

Does the gratitude train stop here?

Not at all!

This week, we’re also sharing stories of a few (five, to be exact) of the amazing individuals, like you, who make our work possible:

  • Matt Ramsden, member and supporter, who keeps buying prize drawing tickets even though he has not won yet, all to support the work he cares about.
  • Jenny White, superstar volunteer, chocolate lover, and scourge to corporate lobbyists.
  • Jennifer Carino, former employee turned Global Exchange Monthly Supporter.
  • Lea Murray, took a Reality Tour to Venezuela and came home inspired to share what she’d seen.
  • and Lyla Seo, puts her values first when she shops Fair Trade at our San Francisco store.

There you have it, two different mediums, one important message, to say:

Thank you.

P.S. If you want to see all of the thank you pictures from the video (plus a few extras!), you can check them out at your leisure on our Facebook page.

This week we are thanking and recognizing the people who make Global Exchange’s work possible.  We’re highlighting a few individuals who represent the thousands who make up the amazing global network of change makers.

In this post, we thank Lea Murray, Reality Tours traveler extraordinaire! To read about others we’re thankful for, click here.

Lea Murray, Reality Tours Traveler Extraordinaire

Lea (left) with fellow Reality Tours travelers

Reality Tours travelers aren’t tourists.

They’re travelers on a mission.

What makes Reality Tours travelers so awesome is what they do when they get home.  They don’t just unpack their suitcases, they unpack a life changing experience.  Speaking to family and friends.  Hosting film screenings.  And in a few instances, starting their own volunteer efforts to address the issues raised on their journeys.

Lea Murray traveled with Global Exchange on a Reality Tour to Venezuela in June of 2012, and her life hasn’t been the same since.

“Now that I have seen with my own eyes and heard with my own ears, what will I do?  I will re-think my life.  I have a new vision.  I want to see how other people live and experience life.  I want to travel to even more places where black Africans were dispersed during the slave trade.  I will travel to Haiti and Cuba and examine the plight of my black brothers and sisters in these small island countries.  I will re-think my business…I will open my eyes — see the vision — and do something to make a difference.  I will participate,” said Murray.

All of us at Global Exchange are grateful for Lea’s efforts to inspire and educate others about what she’s seen, and for the work done by the hundreds of other Reality Tours participants each year.

Every traveler makes a difference.

So to Lea and all Reality Tours travelers, we say…

Thank You.

Know that wherever your journey takes you, we are honored to have joined you.

P.S. Have you watched our new Thank You video yet?


This week we are thanking and recognizing the people who make Global Exchange’s work possible.  We’re highlighting a few individuals who represent the thousands who make up the amazing global network of change makers.

In this post, we thank the persistently giving Matt Ramsden. To read about others we’re thankful for, click here.

Matt Ramsden, Steadfast Despite Prize Drawing Losses

Matt Ramsden is indispensable.

For the past few years, Matt has supported Global Exchange in myriad ways.  He continues to enter our prize drawings, despite never having won the coveted grand prize (or any of the other prizes, for that matter).  He has treated his loved ones to Global Exchange Gift of Membership packages come holiday season.  He has responded to emails, letters, and phone calls.  I’m sure if we sent out a message in Morse code, he’d tap a response right back to us.

Donations from Matt and thousands like him turn ideas into action. People from across the globe contribute, confident that every dollar, every hard earned cent, is put to work right away towards the critical issues of our time.

This support means that when the Caravan for Peace trekked across the United States calling for an end to the tragic insanity of the drug war, weary travelers had a place to sleep and something to eat.

This support helped people set up their own Elect Democracy barbecues to bring their neighbors together to talk about booting the Big Banks from politics.  And as we go toe to toe with lobbying giants, we’ll have people power on our side.

When we respond to calls from communities across the country to help craft legislation that affirms the rights of community members to decide what happens in their own backyards, your donations fund our stand against corporate greed.

To Matt, and to the teachers, students, retirees, metalworkers, dancers, parents, children, dreamers, nurses, taxi drivers, farmers, and everyone else whose dedication and commitment truly make this work possible —

Thank you.

P.S. Have you watched our new Thank You video yet?

This week we are thanking and recognizing the people who make Global Exchange’s work possible.  We’re highlighting a few individuals who represent the thousands who make up the amazing global network of change makers.

In this post, we thank Jenny White, volunteer superstar! To read about others we’re thankful for, click here.

Jenny White, Volunteer Superstar

Jenny White is a volunteer.

Around here, that makes her a superstar.

In the fall of 2011, Jenny ran into her long-time friend Kirsten Moller from Global Exchange at an Occupy Wall Street march in San Francisco.  Jenny was transitioning out of a career at UCSF Medical Center and was looking for something to fill her time.  Why not volunteer at Global Exchange, Kirsten asked.

“It just rang a bell for me.  I jumped at the chance,” said Jenny.

We’re sure glad these two old friends ran into each other.  For the past year, Jenny has been volunteering at the Global Exchange office, tackling project after project with aplomb — all while providing a friendly smile for everyone in the building.

Her first major challenge: digging into Hershey’s supply chain to examine the company’s record on child labor.  From there, she moved on to coordinating the We Want More from Our S’mores campaign, applying pressure on Hershey’s to go Fair Trade (and eating a few goodies along the way).  Now, Jenny has teamed up with our Elect Democracy campaign to investigate the link between lobbyists, corporations, and government agencies.

Volunteers form an essential part of the Global Exchange community, helping to deliver the impacts we care most about to Fair Trade producers, community members impacted by fracking, and victims of the drug war.  Nothing we do would be possible without folks like Jenny.

Volunteers research corporate criminals.  They paint signs.  Take pictures.  Edit videos.  Write blog posts.

In short, volunteers are indispensable.  To Jenny, and the hundreds of volunteers who have pitched in over the years:

Thank You.

P.S. Have you watched our new Thank You video yet?

This week we are thanking and recognizing the people who make Global Exchange’s work possible. We’re highlighting a few individuals who represent the thousands who make up the amazing global network of change makers. 

In this post, we thank Lyla Seo for shopping Fair Trade. To read about others we’re thankful for, click here.

Thank You Lyla Seo, Shopper on a Mission

Lyla Seo is helping to fundamentally realign our global economic order.  She’s funding healthcare, education, and women’s empowerment.  She’s supporting worker’s rights and helping end child slavery.

And she’s doing all this through one simple act; purchasing Fair Trade products.

Lyla shops at our San Francisco Global Exchange Fair Trade store, and we couldn’t be more grateful for folks like her.  For over two decades, Global Exchange has been a leader in the Fair Trade movement.  And over the years, we’ve come to realize a simple truth:

Fair Trade’s success or failure is completely dependent on people like Lyla.

Purchases drive the Fair Trade system, providing the development premiums that make a meaningful difference in the lives of producers the world over.  All of the projects that matter most – building schools and clinics to developing the infrastructure for additional trade – are only possible when the market for Fair Trade thrives.

All trade provides income, but Fair Trade goes beyond the exchange, expanding rights at the workplace and amplifying the voices of farmers and artisans.  And for commodities like cocoa, Fair Trade is a powerful mechanism for ending child slavery.

We weren’t kidding about the whole fundamental realignment thing.

Lyla knows just how much power she really has.  She explains that she shops at the Global Exchange retail store “because it is important to shop Fair Trade,”

We agree.  And we are thankful for all of the people who help Fair Trade grow.

To Lyla and all of the other Fair Trade supporters out there:

Thank you.

 P.S. Have you watched our new Thank You video yet?

This week we are thanking and recognizing the people who make Global Exchange’s work possible.  We’re highlighting a few individuals who represent the thousands who make up the amazing global network of change makers.

In this post, we thank Global Exchange Monthly Sustainer (GEMS) Jennifer Carino. To read about others we’re thankful for, click here.

Jennifer Carino, Committed to the Cause

When Jennifer Carino stopped working at Global Exchange in 1998, she knew that she wanted to continue her support for an organization that had grown near and dear to her heart.  She was less confident, however, that she would remember to mail in her donation once a year.

So she became a Global Exchange Monthly Sustainer (GEMS).  Every month, her donation is made automatically by credit card.  Computers, as it turns out, aren’t all that forgetful.

We don’t mind licking a few less envelopes either. Monthly givers like Jennifer help reduce overhead by eliminating many mailing and outreach costs, allowing more of her donation to go towards our programmatic work.

More of each dollar goes towards crafting local ordinances to safeguard against corporate harm.  More of each dollar goes toward stopping lobbyists from hijacking our democracy.  More of each dollar goes toward ending the drug war and human rights abuses in Mexico.  More of each dollar goes towards communities, farmers, towards realigning our global social and economic order to meet the needs of people and ecosystems, not corporate shareholders.

Not to mention, fewer mailings means less paper, so giving monthly is more sustainable.  Over 250 people give each month, just like Jennifer.

So Jennifer Carino and all of our GEMS, for allowing us to focus on the work that matters most (and for saving us a few stamps)…

Thank you.

P.S.  Have you watched our new Thank You video yet?

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”  ~James Baldwin

“Action is the antidote to despair.”  ~Joan Baez

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  ~Margaret Mead

Tens of thousands of us have stood up this year and changed the global analysis and understanding of inequality, wealth accumulation and corporate greed and power. Ten of thousands of us have said enough is enough and brought change to our communities, cities and countries.

We here at Global Exchange offer gratitude to all those who have stood up to resist injustice, envision alternatives and take action. Together we are part of monumental shift, and there is no turning back.

We thank:

  • The change makers in Egypt: Thank you to the courageous demonstrators in Egypt whose force grew into a movement that brought about the end of Mubarak’s regime and more recently the military offering its resignation We’re inspired by your bravery, determination, and sheer numbers.
  • Those who saw that Chevron was found guilty: Thank you to indigenous community members and human rights and environmental justice advocates who worked together to ensure Chevron was brought to justice in an Ecuadorian court. The battle may not be over, but it took courage and conviction to get this far. We hope that BP is also held accountable.
  • Unionists and allies in Wisconsin: Thank you to the protesters who occupied the State Capitol Building in Madison, Wisconsin in attempt to stop the bill that curbs the bargaining rights of most state workers (now signed by Governor Walker). With efforts now underway to reclaim democracy, we support your efforts, voice and action.
  • Climate Activist Tim deChristopher: Thanks for your simple act of civil disobedience to scupper a controversial auction of thousands of acres of land, to protect it from false leases that would have been snapped up by gas and oil companies for exploitation. We send solidarity to you, as you serve the 2 year sentence in jail.
  • Money Movers and Shakers: Thanks to…
    · 22 year old Molly Katchpole who single-handedly launched a successful petition against Bank of America;
    · Move Your Money and other likeminded organizations that helped US bank account holders break up with their bank and move their money from big corporate banks to local credit unions where people are account holders AND owners.
  • Stop Keystone XL Activists: Thanks to the 1253 of you who were arrested in late summer at the White House, the 350 of you who were arrested in late September in Ottawa, the dozens of action teams who followed President Obama this fall, the12,000 of you who surrounded the White House in November, and the massive organizing effort of the Tar Sands Action crew. By making approval of the Keystone XL pipeline impossible to President Obama, we delayed a decision on this pipeline which would have opened up the tar sands in Alberta to an addition 900 000 barrels of oil extraction a day. We know we will stop this.
  • Javier Sicilia and the new peace movement in Mexico: Thank you for building a movement to free Mexico from the spiraling violence of the ‘war on drugs.’ We are grateful for your immense courage, dignity and integrity in the face of unspeakable horrors.
  • Gaza Freedom Flotilla: Thanks to activists aboard the Audacity of Hope and other boats in the Freedom Flotilla for your non-violent efforts this spring to bring needed humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza while striving to lift the illegal siege of Gaza and achieve freedom for the Palestinian people. 
  • Occupiers of Wall Street and Beyond: Thanks to the 99% who are standing up and taking action to say Enough is Enough. On Nov. 15th Berkeley professor Robert Reich shared with the Occupy Cal crowd these words:

Moral outrage is the beginning. The days of apathy are over, folks. And once it has begun it cannot be stopped and it will not be stopped.

Surely he is correct.

Who are you thankful for? What is the next victory and who will make it happen?

8 days, 8 Giving Thanksblog posts led up to this video. The posts and video highlight individuals chosen by Global Exchange staff members who are contributing to our social justice work in some way. So please join us in recognizing those special individuals who are helping to make this world a better place, and hope you enjoy the video.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is Part 7 in an 8-Part “Giving Thanks” series, a Global Exchange exclusive highlighting individuals (chosen by Global Exchange staff members) who are contributing to our social justice work in some way. This series will culminate with a “Giving Thanks” video to be launched right here on Wednesday, November 24th. So please join us in recognizing those special individuals who are helping to make this world a better place.

Global Exchange proudly honored Van Jones earlier this year as the Domestic Honoree during our annual Human Rights Awards. Here Global Exchange and Green Festivals Co-Founder Kevin Danaher takes the opportunity to personally thank Van for his contributions to the green movement:

I am thankful that I have been lucky enough to know Van Jones —as a mentor, colleague and friend—because Van has done SO MUCH to combine the struggle against inequality with the environmental struggle to create a nature friendly economy model. If we had a few thousand Solutionaries like Van, the transition to sustainability would have already taken place.

Van Jones and Kevin Danaher at Global Exchange 2010 Human Rights Awards gala.

Van Jones has been a pioneer in many areas. He was one of the first courageous leaders to call attention to police violence in poor neighborhoods, and he connected it to the violence of US foreign policy in many parts of the world. He has been one of the most articulate spokespeople linking the need for jobs in the inner city with the need to save our environment from the destructive effects of profit-oriented policies.

His path-breaking book The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems —the first by an African-American environmentalist to make the New York Times Best Seller list—made irrefutable arguments for linking green job creation with the need for more racial equality in our society. While a member of the Obama White House Van pushed the bureaucracies to put more money into green job creation. And now he continues that work, inspiring action for social justice everywhere he goes.

Thank You Van Jones!

If you want to keep up to date about Van and Kevin, here’s how:

Follow Van Jones on Twitter and Facebook.

Follow Kevin Danaher on Twitter and Facebook.

Who are YOU thankful for? Add your own thank you message in the Comments section to recognize someone you think is doing great social justice work. And if you feel so inspired, Retweet and Share this post to help spread the recognition all of our ‘Thankees’ deserve. Thank YOU.