at the Muste Institute
After 24 years of dedicated service, Executive Director Murray Rosenblith is moving on to a new job as a director of the New Alternatives Fund, a Long Island based mutual fund investing in alternative energy and conservation.
It was Murray who reached out to me and to my family and got us involved in the Institute’s work supporting peace and justice activism. I am sure my grandfather would be proud of how this work, inspired by his legacy, has blossomed under Murray’s tenure.
The board has named Program Director Jane Guskin and Associate Director Jeanne Strole as interim co-directors of the Muste Institute. Jane has helped spearhead the Institute’s program expansion over her nearly 16 years working here, and Jeanne has been responsible for much of the day-to-day management of the Institute’s development, program and administrative work since joining the staff more than five years ago. They are extremely dedicated to the Institute’s mission, and the board is confident that our programs for peace and social justice will flourish under their capable management. I will also be playing an active role through this transition period, and I look forward to being in touch with all of you who make the Institute’s work possible through your generous support.
The Muste Institute is also facing a transition with our building at 339 Lafayette Street in Manhattan. An engineer's report has uncovered serious structural problems which make even a gut renovation impractical. The Board is exploring options including the possibility that a group of concerned activists could create a new peace building on the site. However things work out, we expect to end up with an accessible space where we can continue and expand our program work.
These are challenging, uncertain economic times. I hope you recognize that the Muste Institute’s programs, which address so many of the root causes of the problems we’re facing, are more important than ever. The changes that will result from the recent elections give us a unique opportunity to participate in the national dialogue on social justice, militarism and the United States’ role in the world. We cannot afford to let this opportunity pass by.
I encourage you to step up your support for the Muste Institute, and to tell others about our work promoting active nonviolence for social justice. Thank you for your support.
Some 800 activists from throughout the Americas met in early October in La Esperanza, Honduras for the Second Hemispheric Gathering Against Militarization. Delegates from 175 organizations and 27 countries took part in the four-day event, which ended on Oct. 6 with a march and demonstration in front of the U.S. military base in Palmerola. "We reaffirm our commitment to struggle for a demilitarized, disarmed world and continent, free of war, misery and violence," states the gathering's final declaration. The Muste Institute's NOVA Travel Fund provided nearly $20,000 to help activists from 19 different organizations get to the meeting from Haiti, Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Peru, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua and Guatemala. For details, see the list of NOVA Travel grants below.
From its founding in 1974, the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute has been a sustaining force for the nonviolent movement for peace and social justice. If you’ve been involved over the past three decades in a group that has worked to promote disarmament, oppose nuclear power, stop U.S. military intervention abroad, end the death penalty, counter military recruitment, defend human rights, eliminate apartheid, or stop war, chances are that your work has benefited from Muste Institute funding, fiscal sponsorship or educational resources.
When I started as executive director in 1984, the Muste Institute had a small roster of sponsored organizations and a modest grantmaking program. Our efforts now reach across the globe, and our grassroots focus and activist board allow us to react quickly to urgent needs.
I’m proud of my long association with the Institute and the many wonderful and committed people like you who have sustained our work with your contributions. I’ve had the privilege to meet and talk with many of you, in writing or in person. It has been a great “perk” of my job here to respond to your questions, listen to your advice, and share stories and accomplishments. I’ll miss these interactions as I leave my position here to pursue an opportunity to work with socially responsible investment in alternative energy, conservation and sustainable development.
I want to commend and salute all the members of the Board of Directors with whom I’ve had the privilege to work. I deeply value my associations with this remarkable group of activists. I’m particularly grateful to Board chair Peter Muste for his constancy, patience and counsel over the past few years. My appreciation and affection also go to my co-workers at the Muste Institute, Jane Guskin and Jeanne Strole, who are now serving as interim co-directors, and Building Superintendent Salvador Suazo. Jane and Jeanne’s intelligence, hard work, perseverance and good humor here have been largely responsible for the great progress and dynamic new programs that we’ve developed.
As the Muste Institute faces great challenges, the commitment that Peter, Jeanne, Jane and our board members share for our work and vision will be an invaluable asset.
But the true face of the Muste Institute is not the dedicated staff, who carry out the day-to-day work, or the board, which guides funding and other important decisions, or even the legacy of A.J. Muste, which inspires us as activists. The face of the Muste Institute is a Burmese refugee woman empowering herself and her peers in a nonviolence training. It’s a farm worker in Florida successfully confronting corporations to demand fair wages. It’s a young person in Chicago saying no to military recruiters. It’s a Palestinian villager marching peacefully against Israel’s apartheid wall; and its grassroots activists all around the world engaged in nonviolent action and popular education for a better world.
The face of the Muste Institute is also your face: the supporter who makes all this work possible through your contributions. It is true solidarity, not just charity: your support demonstrates your commitment to sharing resources in a common mission for social justice. The role of the Muste Institute is to facilitate that solidarity, to ensure that your donations reach these wonderful grassroots projects, and to show you the accomplishments made possible by your contributions, as an inspiration to all of us who seek, as Martin Luther King, Jr. put it, not merely the absence of violence, but the presence of justice.
I will always treasure the wonderful contacts I’ve shared with so many of you and the steadfast support for our work that you’ve provided. While I’m leaving the staff, I’ll be continuing and increasing my commitment to sustain the Muste Institute’s important programs by making the largest contribution I can afford. I hope you’ll join me in increasing your support. Every donation, no matter the size, moves us all a step closer to the realization of A.J. Muste’s vision of a just and nonviolent world.
The Muste Institute’s Counter Recruitment Fund makes small grants for grassroots efforts to inform young people about the realities of military service, help them protect their privacy from recruiters and refer them to non-military education and employment options. Our next deadline for proposals is February 9, 2009. Guidelines are at www.ajmuste.org/counter-recruit.htm
Appalachian Peace and Justice Network, Athens, OH: $1,500 for tabling and distribution in rural Appalachian Ohio high schools as part of the Nonviolent Service Options Campaign. http://www.apjn.org/
Coalition Against Militarism in Our Schools (CAMS), South
Pasadena, CA: $1,000 for Project Great Futures, providing information
in Southern California high schools, colleges and career centers on alternative
financing for education, green job opportunities and the realities of
New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE), Long
Island City, NY: $1,000 for coalition-building and workshops in New York
City based on the curricular resource guide “Camouflaged: Investigating
How the U.S. Military Affects You and Your Community.”
Ohio Conference of Mennonite Churches USA, Kidron, OH: $1,000 to distribute educational materials about militarism and military service in high schools in Central Ohio, and to meet with guidance counselors to inform them of alternatives to military service for their students.
Resource Center for Nonviolence, Santa Cruz, CA: $1,500
for the Truth in Recruiting Network, educating high school students in
the Watsonville area and other areas of rural Santa Cruz County about
the realities of military service and non-military alternatives.
Through its general grant making program, the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute has made hundreds of small grants over the past 30 years to groups engaged in nonviolent education and action for social justice. Unfortunately, because of financial concerns we have had to temporarily suspend this grant making program. If supporting social justice activism is important to you, please donate now to help us restore this program.
Asociación de Ex Internos Penitenciarios
de El Salvador
Asociación de Mujeres para la Integración
de la Familia en Nicaragua
Casa—Colectivos de Apoyo, Solidaridad y Acción
National Death Row Assistance Network
Nodutdol for Korean Community Development
Salina People for Peace
August 2008: 26 grants totaling $27,135.65:
Akuaipa Waimakat - Asociación para la Divulgación, Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos Humanos e Indígenas, Manaure, La Guajira, Colombia: $1,330 for Yerly Susana Palacio Polo and Griselda Rosario Iguarán López, members of Akuaipa Waimakat (Association for the Disclosure, Promotion and Defense of Indigenous and Human Rights) to participate in the Americas Social Forum (Foro Social de las Américas), to be held October 7-12 in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Asociación para el Desarrollo de la Agricultura - ASDEA (Association for the Development of Agriculture), San Martín Jilotepeque, Chimaltenango, Guatemala: $400 for five Kaqchikel indigenous activists, members of ASDEA, to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization (Encuentro Hemisférico Frente a la Militarización), held October 2-6, 2008, in La Esperanza, Intibucá, Honduras.
Asociación Indígena Newentuleaiñ, Nueva Imperial, Chile: $1,265.38 for Juan Curiqueo Ñanco to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras and the Americas Social Forum in Guatemala.
Asociación Programa de Desarrollo de Áreas Elim (APRODAE), San José Guayabal, Cuscatlán, El Salvador: $700 for 12 activists from grassroots groups linked to APRODAE to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras.
Cabildos Mayores del Río Sinú y Río Verde of the Resguardo Emberá Katío del Alto Sinú (CAMAEMKA), Tierralta, Córdoba, Colombia: $975 for José Ricardo Chisco Moreno of CAMAEMKA (High Council of the Río Sinú and Río Verde of the Emberá Katío indigenous reservation of the Upper Sinú) to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras.
Centro de Mujeres Indígenas (Aymaras) Candelaria, La Paz, Bolivia: $1,150.75 for Clotilde Marquez Cruz to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras and the Americas Social Forum in Guatemala.
Comunicadores y Comunicadoras Populares Por la Autonomía - COMPPA, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico: $1,423 for seven community radio activists affiliated with COMPPA's partner organizations in Oaxaca (Mexico) and in Petén, Quiché and Cobán (Guatemala) to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras. http://www.comppa.org/
Comunidad Charrúa Basquadé Inchalá, Montevideo, Uruguay: $1,115 for Evelyn Baldassari of this Uruguayan indigenous organization to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras and the Americas Social Forum in Guatemala.
Comunidad Indígena Fernando Huaiquil, Nueva Imperial, Chile: $1,265.38 for Ruth Carolina Caniullan Huaiquil to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras and the Americas Social Forum in Guatemala.
Fédération Syndicats Travailleurs(euses) Eléctricité d'Haiti (FESTREDH), Port-au-Prince, Haiti: $909.80 for Raphael Dukens of the Haitian Electricity Workers Union to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras.
Frente de Lucha Mapuche y Campesino, Esquel, Chubut, Argentina: $1,508.63 for indigenous Mapuche activist Moira Millán to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras, the Americas Social Forum in Guatemala, and a meeting with indigenous Kuna activists in Panama.
Fundación Diálogo Mujer, Chía, Cundinamarca, Colombia: $1,500 for travel expenses for nine regional coordinators of Mujeres Autoras Actoras de Paz-MAAP (Women Authors Actors of Peace) to participate in a national meeting of MAAP in late September 2008 in Bogotá, Colombia.
Fundación Esfuerzo y Prosperidad –FUNDAESPRO, Guatemala City, Guatemala: $1,480 for a group of 12 grassroots activists from FUNDAESPRO and its partner organizations to travel to the 8th Regional Gathering on Solidarity Economics (8o Encuentro Regional Sobre Economía Solidaria) held October 21-23, 2008, in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.
Fundación Promotora de Cooperativas - FUNPROCOOP, San Salvador, El Salvador: $1,000 for 20 grassroots leaders from the Movimiento por la Vida y Equidad Campesina – MVEC (Movement for Campesino Equity and Life) to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras and the Americas Social Forum in Guatemala.
Mouvement Paysan de Papaye (MPP), Port-au-Prince/Papaye, Haití: $909.80 for Kettly Alexandre of the Papaye Peasant Movement to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras.
Movimiento de Activación Social Alternativo (MASA), Estelí, Nicaragua: $1,500 for 15 members of MASA (Movement of Alternative Social Activation) to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras and the Americas Social Forum in Guatemala.
Movimiento Amplio de Mujeres (MAM), Lima, Peru: $890 for Denisse Chávez Cuentas of MAM to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras and the Americas Social Forum in Guatemala.
Organización para el Desarrollo de las Mujeres Inmigrantes Haitianas y sus Familiares (ODEMIHF), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: $1,320.76 for Carline Vital of ODEMIHF (Organization for the Development of Haitian Immigrant Women and their Families) to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras.
Organización Femenina Popular, Barrancabermeja, Colombia: $1,118.15 for Nery Isabel Sánchez Márquez to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras and the Americas Social Forum in Guatemala.
Otros Mundos, A.C., San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico: $250 for María Elena Domínguez and Adela Hernández Díaz of the Colectivo Lunatik, from Comitán, Chiapas, to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras. http://www.otrosmundoschiapas.org
Plateforme Haïtienne De Plaidoyer Pour Un Développement Alternatif (PAPDA), Port-au-Prince, Haiti: $927.94 for Jean Claudy Aristil, a member of the Cayes People's Unity Movement (Movimiento de Unidad del Pueblo de Cayes, MUPAC), to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras and the Americas Social Forum in Guatemala.
Pobladores A.C., Xalapa, Mexico: $371.06 for Marco Antonio Romero Cortazar to participate in the Americas Social Forum in Guatemala.
Red de Acción Indígena Noroeste, Sonora and Baja California, Mexico: $1,300 for five members of this northwestern Mexican indigenous organization to participate in the 2nd National Congress of Social Medicine and Collective Health "For the Defense of Healthcare as a Right" (II Congreso Nacional de Medicina Social y Salud Colectiva “Por la Defensa de la Salud como un Derecho”), held November 24-28, 2008 in Mexico City.
Red de Solidaridad y Desarrollo Comunitario, Managua, Nicaragua: $900 for 15 members of the grassroots organizations belonging to the Another World is Possible Nicaraguan Social Movement (Movimiento Social Nicaragüense Otro Mundo es Posible) to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras and the Americas Social Forum in Guatemala.
Servicio Paz y Justicia (SERPAJ) Paraguay, Asunción, Paraguay: $1,500 for María Basiliana Montiel Vázquez of SERPAJ Paraguay to participate in the II Hemispheric Gathering Confronting Militarization in Honduras and the Americas Social Forum in Guatemala.
Union Proletaria “Hasta la Victoria Siempre” A.C., Candelaria, Campeche, Mexico: $125 for Sara López González to participate in the Americas Social Forum in Guatemala.
October 2008: 4 grants totaling $3,918.56
Asociación de Mujeres Indígenas del Tolima (ASMIT), Chaparral, Tolima, Colombia: $1,438 to for 25 indigenous Pijao women, members of ASMIT, the Association of Indigenous Women of Tolima, to participate in a Nov. 21-22, 2008 visit to the agro-ecology farms of Quindío Department in Colombia.
Espacio Psicosocial para el Fortalecimiento Comunitario (EPFIC), San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico: $1,200 to the Psychosocial Space for Community Strengthening (EPFIC) to help 60 campesino leaders of indigenous communities from five regions of Chiapas state participate in the IX International Congress of Social Psychology of Liberation (IX Congreso Internacional de Psicología Social de la Liberación), held Nov. 14-16, 2008, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.
Fundación para la Promoción del Conocimiento Indígena (FPCI), Panama City, Panama: $940 for 13 Kuna indigenous women activists, members of FPCI, the Foundation for the Promotion of Indigenous Knowledge, to participate in the General Congress of the Kuna People (Congreso General del Pueblo Kuna), planned for Nov. 20-23, 2008 in Dad Nackue Dupbir, Comarca Kuna Yala, Panamá.Juventud Obrera Cristiana –JOC- Guatemala, Guatemala City, Guatemala: $340.56 for Brenda Elizabeth Justiniano Castañeda and Edgar Desiderio Menchu Rosal to participate in a Central American regional meeting of the Juventud Obrera Cristiana (Christian Worker Youth) movement held Nov. 7-10, 2008 in Nicaragua.