On Saturday, July 7, the 22nd Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba will visit Milwaukee for a potluck dinner at 6 pm and a 7 pm program featuring a Caravanista who is an indigenous youth leader from Vancouver, British Columbia, speaking at Central United Methodist Church (CUMC, 639 N. 25th St.). The Caravan will then load material donations to be delivered to churches in Cuba, in an act of friendship and solidarity with the Cuban people as the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba continues past its 50th year.
The Caravan will visit about 100 U.S. and Canadian cities. At every stop, educational events about the blockade will be held and donated material goods will be loaded, which are now being collected in Milwaukee. This includes construction supplies and tools; medical equipment and supplies (expiration Feb. 2013 or later); and school supplies, sports equipment, musical instruments (all in good condition), as well as bibles in Spanish. Donations can be dropped off at CUMC at the following times: Mon.-Fri., 9 am – 1pm; and Sunday, 11am – 12pm (please call ahead: 414-344-1600), as well as on Saturday, June 30, between 10-11:30 am. For a complete list of what and how to donate, or on joining the caravan, visit www.wicuba.org.
Aaron Mercredi is a young Metis social justice organizer and journalist based in Vancouver, Canada, who will be part of the Caravan and speak in Milwaukee. He is a founding member of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba and the Indigenous Rights and Action Project. He has traveled to Cuba six times as part of the Caravan, and is an Editorial Board member of the Fire This Time Newspaper and a radio host with Kla How Ya FM on Vancouver Co-Op Radio, where he has covered extensively issues of indigenous self-determination and solidarity with Cuba.
Every year, Pastors for Peace (PFP) brings caravanistas from around the country and other nations to travel to Cuba without a U.S. license and bring material aid to the Cuban people as an act of civil disobedience to challenge the continued U.S. travel restrictions and economic blockade of Cuba. Founded by the late Rev. Lucius Walker, formerly of Milwaukee, PFP calls the economic blockade “immoral,” as it seriously affects the health and well-being of Cuban citizens who pose no threat to the U.S. Meanwhile, Cuba is continuing to offer free medical school education to U.S. citizens as it does to over 15,000 students from developing countries – in return for their promise to return home and work as doctors in under-served communities. This includes a Milwaukee student expected to graduate from medical school in Havana this summer after six years of free medical school in Cuba, and additional spaces are now available.
Sponsors welcoming the Caravan include include Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba (www.wicuba.org), Central United Methodist Church, Latin America Solidarity Committee, National Black United Front – Milw. Chapter, Progressive Students of Milwaukee, National Lawyers Guild – Milw., and Peace Action-WI (www.peaceactionwi.org). For more information, call (414) 273-1040, or visit www.wicuba.org, or and Pastors for Peace (www.pastorsforpeace.org).