Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The 22nd annual Pastors for Peace FRIENDSHIPMENT Cuba Caravan

On Friday, July 8th, the 22nd annual Pastors for Peace FRIENDSHIPMENT Cuba Caravan will arrive in Rochester to receive and then transport humanitarian aid donations to Cuba. These donations are made possible by contributions collected by the Rochester Committee on Latin America. Included are $2000 worth of children’s asthma medicine plus orthopedic equipment and special pediatric wheelchairs.  Trucks of the Caravan will cross North America.  Eventually, the FRIENDSHIPMENT will deliver the aid to the Ecumenical Council of Cuba.

Since 1992, Rochester-area residents have challenged the US embargo on trade and travel to Cuba by collecting medical and educational materials and shipping them to Cuba in violation of our government policy.  Pastors for Peace does not apply for and will not accept a license for either humanitarian aid or travel to Cuba.  The Caravan’s goal is to educate about conditions in Cuba and the effects of the 50-year-old US embargo, and to help overturn the embargo.

At 5:30 that evening Bill Hackwell, widely published and exhibited social documentary photographer, who is traveling with the Caravan, will speak to volunteers.  Volunteers and supporters will gather at 57 South Main Street in Pittsford to pack the truck and celebrate with a potluck supper.

Organizers expect Emily Good of Rochester to be acknowledged at the event.  Ms. Good received national attention when she was arrested for peacefully filming police officers carrying out a traffic stop. All charges against Ms. Good were later dismissed.

Also expected to be present are Matt Dearstyne and Sara Burdette, of Greece, NY.  Dearstyne and Burdette, recent SUNY Geneseo graduates, will both be traveling to Cuba with the caravan.

ROCLA will pay special tribute to Max and Henrietta Levine of Rochester.  The Levines have worked jointly for peace and justice for over 150 years.

Vic Vinkey, local organizer and chairperson for this event, who has accompanied a past Caravan to Cuba, says that “by our actions we will continue to challenge this unjust law and hope eventually to change it.”

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