Lima When people do not meet regularly despite all of the communications on phone calls, emails, and websites, it is exciting to learn more when hearing people report on progress face to face, and that was the highlight of our international meetings as people when around the room Suyapa Amador was able to report on the plans that members are making to advance the organization in Santiago, Dominican Republic, and Tijuana, Mexico, and her own plans in Mexico City, but she wowed everyone with the report that more than 1000 members joined in a community near San Pedro Sula, Honduras to launch the organization over the last week. The reaction at the grassroots to building strong organizations for change in the face of the political upheaval in Honduras is amazing. Young theater groups have offered to do plays and fundraisers for the emerging ACORN Honduras organization. There are other groups of students and professors who are coming forward to volunteer and help build ACORN. Very exciting!
Orfa Camacho in ACORN Peru has also been very creative in building relationships with volunteers who have been invaluable as well as joint partnerships with health agencies and health support plans for the disabled which provide not only additional capacity and resources, but deep benefits for members of the organization. It was exciting to hear about the prospects of support from some of the Peruvian ministries for the work here.
The living wage victory in New Westminster in British Columbia was well know, but the new initiatives in Surrey and Vancouver itself were powerfully presented by John Anderson, and Jill O’Reilly was full of energy and passion as she presented the plans for Ottawa’s living wage measure. Perhaps as thrilling as any of the reports was finally feeling like everyone was getting an understanding of the $100,000,000 in repairs that landlords have been forced to made in Toronto thanks to ACORN Canada’s constant pressure and their cracking the whip on the City of Toronto. Tatiana Jaunzems, the field director in Toronto provided the details for all of the staff so that we could look under the hood and finally understand how fundamental this victory could be. In a couple of years with continued work, it is easy to believe that we could document over a billion in repairs!
And, those were only the highlights of some of the reports, the discussions even more important topped with the showing of the documentary film, Waste, that follows three of the waste picking members of ACORN India in Mumbai and the Dharavi Project.
We were blown away! It was a great day!