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June 19, 2008

Sweat Free Communities

Saturday, July 12, 11:00am-1:00pm
Broad Street Ministry, 315 S. Broad St., Philadelphia

11:00-12:30pm Worker Rights Board Hearing:
Sweatshops & State Purchasing Practices
Testimony by sweatshop workers and public employees who wear the uniforms they make.

12:30pm-1:00pm Sweatfree Rally
@ National Governors' Association Centennial Meeting
Gather at Broad Street Ministry
Urge all 50 governors to join the Sweatfree Consortium to stop tax dollar support for sweatshops.

Speakers at the events will include:
Carmencita "Chie" Abad, former sweatshop worker in U.S. territory of Saipan
Kalpona Akter, former child garment worker from Bangladesh
Dennis Brutus, human rights activist
Bishop Dwayne Royster, Pastor of the Living Water United Church of Christ, Philadelphia
...and many more!
The Philadelphia Workers' Rights Board is a project of the Philadelphia Area Jobs with Justice, a coalition of faith leaders, students, unions, and community members who fight for living wages, top-notch benefits, and respect on the job for people in Philadelphia.

SweatFree Communities is a national network that organizes to end sweatshop exploitation by inspiring responsible local purchasing and fostering solidarity between U.S. communities and workers worldwide.

This event is part of the National SweatFree Summit. Visit http://www.sweatfree.org/summit

CARMENCITA "CHIE" ABAD speaks from personal experience about the hardships endured by millions of workers in sweatshops around the world. Chie spent six years as a garment worker on the Pacific island of Saipan, a U.S. territory. She endured wretched conditions, frequently working 14-hour shifts in order to meet arbitrary production quotas for her employer, the Sako Corporation, which made clothes for the Gap and other retailers. When she tried to organize a union, Chie was met by fierce resistance from management and eventually lost her job. She now lives in the U.S., and works with Global Exchange to educate consumers about the inhumane factory conditions occurring worldwide, including on U.S. soil. Chie was instrumental in forcing 26 major retailers to settle a lawsuit in September 2002 to improve conditions in Saipan. Her story is an inspiring example of how people can win if they stand up for their rights.

KALPONA AKTER became a child garment worker when she was 11 years old. She worked in a Bangladeshi garment factory for eight years and struggled to form a worker union in her factory. Due to her organizing efforts, she was fired and blacklisted. Now, as the Director of Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, she supports labor union organizing; helps workers strengthen their negotiating skills and make legal complaints; and investigates labor conditions in factories producing for institutions with sweatshop-free sourcing policies. Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity's research is respected domestically and internationally, enjoys the trust of garment workers, and has a track record of producing thorough and credible research in the apparel sector.

DENNIS BRUTUS is a lifelong human rights activist and poet. He is perhaps the best-known African poet writing in English, although his books were banned for many years in his home country South Africa. His tireless work against apartheid in South Africa got him arrested and shot in 1963. He was sentenced to an 18-month jail term with hard labor on Robben Island where he broke rocks with Nelson Mandela. He was sent into exile in 1966 and proceeded to lead the successful movement to have South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) banned from the Olympics and other international sporting events. Since then he has remained active in struggles for human and cultural rights, including co-founding the Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance in 2002, connecting international solidarity with workers to the philosophy of Black Consciousness. He is currently Professor Emeritus in the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.

BISHOP ROYSTER has served in Pastoral ministry for the past 16 years in United Methodist Church, the Mennonite Church and the Baptist Church traditions, and is the founder of Living Water United Church of Christ. Bishop Royster is an advocate for preparing congregations for the ministry of availability. He is fond of saying that, "Ministry should not be limited to Sunday mornings." It is with this passion that Bishop Royster became involved with Jobs with Justice supporting workers across the Delaware Valley to let them know that the faith community will not sit by and allow injustice and oppression live in any form.

contact summit@sweatfree.org for more information.

Posted by cat at 03:37 PM