Contact: Art Heitzer, firstname.lastname@example.org(he/him)
Gail Walker, Executive Director of Pastors For Peace and a Milwaukee native, will headline an event on Friday, May 19, to raise money to send needed medicines to the embargoed people of Cuba, at Zao MKE Church, 2319 East Kenwood Blvd., MKE 53211. The event will begin at 6pm with a potluck dinner and Cuban music, followed by a program from 7 to 8 PM. There is no admission charge, but donations are welcome. Original Afro-Cuban art and other items will also be available for a donation. See https://www.facebook.com/events/753534012983710/
This will be a send off of Pastors for Peace’s 33rd Friendshipment to Cuba, many of them acts of civil disobedience. During each of these same 30 years, the United Nations General Assembly hasoverwhelmingly condemned the continued US economic blockade of Cuba, which was tightened during the pandemic and continues today. Cuba is now experiencing severe shortages of food, medicine and fuel, and sharply increased emigration to the U.S. as a result.
Dr. Alexandra Skeeter of Milwaukee will also speak; she is a recent graduate of Cuba’s international medical school in Havana, which offers tuition free education to qualified students from over 60 nations in the developing world, including Palestine, as well as mostly US students of color. Ms. Walker and IFCO [Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization] have facilitated the process of recruiting and selecting over 100 US students to study medicine in Cuba under full scholarship which was initiated by Cuba working with the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus.
IFCO was the fiscal sponsor for a similar Viva Palestina (“Long live Palestine”) caravan sending medical aid to Gaza in 2009. This triggered attacks by some members of Congress resulting in a prolonged in-office IRS investigation and politically based removal of IFCO’s tax exempt status, which was reversed on appeal.
See below for more information on Ms. Walker.
This event is organized by the Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba. It was founded in 1994, inspired by organizers’ first-hand witness of serious food and material shortages in Cuba, alongside the commitment of Cuban people to persevere. The Coalition’s points of unity include respect for Cuba’s sovereignty, and opposition to artificial obstacles between the peoples of the U.S. and Cuba and to all means of economic or other coercion. For more info: visit www.wicuba.org, or email email@example.com.
To make tax deductible donations directly to IFCO/Pastors for Peace, see: https://ifconews.org/donate/==
Some additional info on Gail and Rev. Lucius Walker:Gail Walker worked with IFCO from 1987 to 2002 as the Communications Director and co-led the 1988 IFCO delegation to Nicaragua that resulted in the formation of the Pastors for Peace project. Through Pastors for Peace, citizens are offered the opportunity to enact an alternative people-to-people foreign policy rooted in justice and mutual respect. During her early years at IFCO she led a number of delegations to Central America and Cuba and staffed a number of Cuba Friendshipment Caravans. After years of working as a journalist and communications professional in print, video and radio, Gail returned to IFCO as Director in 2011. Under her direction IFCO staff have organized several Cuba Friendshipment Caravans and educational delegations to Cuba.
Gail was born and raised in Milwaukee, was a community organizer here, and attended MU. Her father, Rev. Lucius Walker, was a leading civil rights and Black community leader and speaker in Milwaukee, into the early 1960’s. He was the founding Exec. Dir. of Northcott Neighborhood House, and the first African-American professional to work in Milwaukee’s then segregated south side; he was arrested and tried for attempting to challenge MPD officers over their brutal treatment of a Black youth. He left Milwaukee for Harlem, founded IFCO and later Pastors for Peace after he was shot by contras in Nicaragua (see above).