November 15, 2012
I have devoted my life to the kind of nonviolent grassroots direct action that the Muste Institute has been supporting, year after year, since 1974.
So I recognize how unusual the Muste Institute is:
• Unusual in its dedication to supporting the most grassroots projects, including start-up initiatives with little access to resources, and those whose nonviolent actions are considered too “radical” for mainstream funders.
• Unusual because it funds all kinds of worthy projects without regard to national borders or tax-exempt status.
• Unusual because it is sustained not by an endowment or a few wealthy donors, but by you: dedicated people who believe in the Muste Institute’s unusual work and demonstrate your appreciation by giving whatever you can, year after year, to keep it going.
Much of the Muste Institute’s work unfolds behind the scenes, without fanfare, so not everyone realizes how much impact it has.
Take the Mexican Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity, for example. Global Exchange, an organization I helped found, was honored to join the Caravan in speaking out across the United States earlier this year against the militarization of the drug war. The Caravan’s dramatic use of nonviolent direct action attracted widespread community support and even mainstream media attention. But many people don’t know that the Muste Institute’s long-term support for the Mexican Peace and Justice Service (SERPAJ) played a key role in making it happen.
And what about the nonviolent movement to free Palestine? Where would it be today without the Muste Institute’s steadfast support over nearly two decades: for groups like Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and the Settlements, Mas’ha Peace Camp, Palestine Solidarity Project, International Solidarity Movement, Birthright Unplugged, and so many others?
The international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which I am proud to be a part of, has dramatically grown in impact, thanks in part to the Muste Institute’s long-standing and outspoken commitment to Palestinian rights.
The same is true of the anti-war movement here in the United States. The Muste Institute has had a hand in supporting nearly every effort to stop war and redirect war money to social needs. How would the War Resisters League have fared without the grants, sponsorship and office and meeting space that the Muste Institute provides? Many anti-war groups—including ad hoc coalitions and local efforts that sprang up after September 11, 2001—got their first grants from the Muste Institute.
And I could go on. For nearly 40 years, the Muste Institute has been instrumental in supporting actions against nuclear weapons, against the death penalty, for economic and environmental justice, for immigrant and labor rights, and so much more.
We have a lot of work to do to build the kind of world we envision. But we wouldn’t even be where we are today without the Muste Institute. And the Muste Institute can’t exist without you.
Please renew your commitment to this unusual resource by donating to the Muste Institute today.
P.S. Today’s news—massive general strikes in Europe, and Israel’s latest horrific assault on Gaza—make the Muste Institute’s work even more urgent. Donate online by clicking here or mail your check to A.J. Muste Memorial Institute, 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012. As always, your contributions to the Muste Institute are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.