The 2018 Dominican Republic Social Justice Retreat: July 31- August 5, 2018
Open to students, adults, and families.
I am in the process of gathering members for this year's Social Justice Tour to the Dominican Republic. This is a not for profit project, and because of the intimate nature of our site visits, we must limit the number of participants we can bring. To preserve the integrity of the project, we do this only once a year. Registration tends to fill quickly, so please contact me ASAP if you are interested. It is recommended that you reserve your place before March 30, 2018. (Contact Kevin : email@example.com)
This year we are not running a separate youth program. Students may participate with a parent during the regular Social Justice Tour taking July 31- August 5th.
During six days, a diverse group of socially engaged participants come together to meet with local activists, teachers, and communities to learn about the root causes of extreme poverty, the effects of globalization, and our interconnectedness with one another.
Unlike many other travel projects to this area, the focus of our travel is not to help, but to learn from and share with the people and communities we will be meeting with. Although as a gesture of solidarity, we will bring medical supplies and other needed items, this is not the focus of the project. We hope instead to build solidarity between teachers and activists, and together gain a deeper understanding of our interconnected struggle.
Over the eight days, we will meet with groups to gain first-hand experience and knowledge on these integral themes:
1. Global migration and human rights: the exploitation of Haitian migrant workers on the sugar cane bateyes and beyond. The just integration into society of Haitians of Dominican descent. We will meet with MUDHA, the group started by the late Sonia Pierre, known as the Cesar Chavez of the Haitian migrant worker and their descendants. She was imprisoned at the age of 13 for acting as a translators for striking cane cutters, and rose up to become the first bring the plight of “stateless” Haitian migrant workers to the International Court of Justice. We plan to meet with her daughters who have continued their mother’s work.
2. Free Trade: Under current international trade laws, workers typically earn about 83 cents an hour making clothes for Victoria’s Secret, Justice and other familiar labels. We will meet union organizers who have risked their lives to start a union in the free trade zone. We will visit the AltaGracia project, a factory that pays workers 3x the normal wage to meet the demands of university students organized throughStudents Against Sweat Shops.
3. The Water Crisis: Rich or poor, access to clean water is a problem that affects everyone in the developing world. We will visit a leading NGO and lend our support to a project that will bring potable water to an impoverished, rural community.
4. The statistic has a face and a name: We will spend a day at the garbage dump where we will work side by side with Haitian children and families, most of them refugees from the recent earthquake, who earn their living from collecting plastic bottles. We have all ready about the vast amounts of people who live on less than $2 a day. Now you will learn their names and hear their stories.
5. We will explore environmental justice issues, as we meet with Dominican youth organizing to project the health of their communities and natural resources from global mining interests that put profits before people.
6. Education: We will spend the day interacting with young Dominican students from the DREAM Project. The students will practice their English with us, engage us in local games, songs, and cultural exchange as they introduce us to their community.
There are many other visits planned; read about them on our website.
Although we work hard and have a rigorous travel schedule, we also have a lot of fun together. We will have amazing adventures in the Dominican Alps where we will go white water rafting in the same lush, tropical rainforest where the film Jurassic Park was shot. We will spend some time on the beach, and take a boat ride to a secluded island where we will have our end of project bonfire and feast.
We are a welcoming group, and our participants always wind up being quite diverse. Over 150 people have participated in the project over the years, and many have returned two and three times.
Please help this worthy project to continue to grow by passing this info onto anyone who may be interested.
Registration is limited and filling quickly, so please write to me as soon as possible if you are interested. Pricing and registration instructions will be emailed to you upon request. Because our tours fill quickly, it is recommended that you reserve your place before March 30, 2018.
Kevin LaMastra (Project Director)