Cultures of Resistance is an activist network and charitable foundation promoting peace, justice and sustainability through film and media production

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How You Can Get Involved

How You Can Get Involved

The challenges of conflict and injustice in the world can often seem overwhelming. Although many of us would like to take a greater part in promoting positive change, it can be difficult to find good information and know how we can effectively contribute. That is why Cultures of Resistance decided to literally search the planet to find inspiring forms of creative resistance. In doing so, we have forged bonds with a broad array of cutting-edge organizers who have recommended meaningful ways that you can join in campaigns for peace and justice.

Below are some top options for taking action. If there is a group featured in the Cultures of Resistance documentary with which you would like to get involved that is not listed below, please e-mail us at info@culturesofresistance.org and we will help put you in touch with someone at that organization who can work with you. Click here for a full list of groups we support.



What You Can Do


  • Stand in Solidarity with the People of the Congo

    The nearly 15-year-old conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues today, largely fueled by our consumption of luxury electronic devices. While international attention to the issue has grown in recent years, the war is still grossly underreported and the violent dynamics of the extraction and trade of the country's precious minerals remain. CoR ally Friends of the Congo (FOTC) has been working for years to build international solidarity with the people of the DRC, and they recommend numerous ways to help. Their annual Congo Week campaign aims to raise international awareness by organizing coordinated demonstrations around the world. Last year people from over 35 countries and at 150 universities took part. Cultures of Resistance and Friends of the Congo can help you organize an event on your campus or in your community as part of this year's Congo Week. We can provide program materials, offer access to engaging speakers, and lend expert advice based on past experience. You can also take immediate action by urging your elected officials to enforce Public Law 109-456, which holds US allies Rwanda and Uganda accountable for their destabilizing influences on the Congo. Click here to visit our issue page about the conflict in the Congo which, at the bottom of the page, features more information on how to get involved.


  • Safeguard Leading Activists Working For A New Latin America

    If you are moved by the struggle against militarization and for democracy in Latin America, there are a number of serious ways to get involved. The Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) is looking for Grassroots Campaign Leaders to work with like-minded activists to create letter-writing drives demanding that the Guatemalan government respect grassroots democracy. Those willing to travel and to make an intensive six-month commitment can join in another vital volunteer initiative: the Guatemala Accompaniment Project (G.A.P.). An initiative of NISGUA, the G.A.P. recruits and trains American citizens to accompany community groups, leaders, and activists who suffer threats and intimidation because of their efforts to combat corruption and injustice in Guatemala. G.A.P. accompaniers provide direct support and a link to the international community by serving as independent observers to meetings, demonstrations, and judicial proceedings. If you are particularly concerned about violence against journalists and human rights defenders in post-coup Honduras, the Friendship Office of the Americas offers similar accompaniment opportunities in that country. Another organization working to protect human rights activists is Peace Brigades International (PBI). PBI holds human rights accompaniment teams in Colombia, Mexico, and Guatemala. Those who have made a commitment to serve in Latin America as accompaniers to human rights activists have found it to be a life changing experience. Click here to learn more about the situation in Guatemala.


  • Howard ZinnTeach History From Below

    Whether you are a classroom teacher, a student concerned about how your history class is being taught, a parent with children in the school system, or anyone else interested in affecting how young people learn U.S. history, you can join in the effort to promote "history from below." The Zinn Education Project attempts to bring Howard Zinn's approach to emphasizing the role of popular struggle in history to a new generation. It also works to use Zinn's classic book, A People's History of the United States, to transform the teaching of American history. Those in the Washington D.C. area can volunteer directly with the Zinn Education Project and help to identify critical resources that can be used in schools. If you are an educator, you can aid the project by sharing information about how you have been able to use A People's History of the United States, or you can join with other teachers in developing strategies for implementing progressive curricula. Click here to learn more.


  • Teach Hip-Hop and Street Art in Brazil's Inner City Communities

    If you are passionate about helping put an end to the overwhelming violence in Brazil's urban slums, we have identified a number of groups with which you can join to make a meaningful contribution. You can volunteer with Central Única das Favelas (CUFA), co-founded by Brazilian rapper and community advocate MV Bill, by working with kids in one of their regional branches. CUFA’s work centers on engaging youths in positive endeavors, and they especially welcome individuals who have experience in teaching music, art, and sports. CUFA's success in discouraging youth from violence and encouraging urban arts has led them to open a branch in each of Brazil's states, as well in 11 other countries. If you are looking to work directly in inner city areas in the United States, you can join with CUFA USA volunteers in using street art, hip-hop, filmmaking, and other arts to engage young people in positive, creative endeavors. If you want to focus your energies on reducing violence in the favelas surrounding Rio de Janeiro, Viva Rio welcomes full-time volunteers to help out in their education and job training initiatives. You can also join them in preparing and deploying donations of food, books, and clothes to daycare centers, retirement centers, and orphanages around the city. If you have an entirely different idea for a way you can contribute to the reduction of poverty in the favelas, Viva Rio also accepts proposals for new projects that volunteers can pioneer.


  • wiwa-thumb1Support Those Who Sail to Break the Seige of Gaza

    Cultures of Resistance works in partnership with a number of groups that are standing in solidarity with Palestinians suffering under a continued occupation of Gaza. One of the most highly publicized techniques used to break the siege has been sending humanitarian aid ships to directly deliver much-needed supplies Gaza. On May 31, 2010, the Israeli navy attacked one of these ships, resulting in the deaths of nine passengers. The incident galvanized international outrage. In its wake the Israeli government agreed to ease the blockade. However, they are still severely restricting the movement of people and of reconstruction materials. You can get involved in this issue in several ways. First, you can invite a former passenger from May's Gaza Freedom Flotilla or from one of the earlier voyages to speak in your community about the situation in Gaza and their experience at sea. Another opportunity to get involved is to join with other activists at the Middle Eastern Children’s Alliance (MECA) and pack a shipment of donated medical supplies, clothes, and educational materials to be sent to Palestinian children in Lebanon. Those who have already been involved in campaigns around the issue who feel prepared to face the risks associated with direct action can also get involved directly with the Free Gaza Movement (FGM), which has brought international observers, journalists, and concerned citizens to Gaza since 2008. In the wake of the Freedom Flotilla, FGM continues to strategize about effective ways to advance the human rights movement through direct action. Click here to learn more about ways to get involved and to visit our more detailed issue page that includes a number of our short films about the blockade of Gaza.


  • Use the Power of Laughter in Areas of Conflict

    If you are an entertainer who wants to use your powers of laughter to improve the lives of those living in crisis situations, you can join with Clowns Without Borders in countries around the world, including Haiti, Colombia, and Palestine. You can volunteer with other performers in helping to address the psychosocial needs of people caught in conflict. Clowns Without Borders tours usually involve groups of 3-4 volunteers who perform comedy shows, magic tricks, and acrobatics, and who also teach children how to perform some tricks of their own. Entertainers can get involved by traveling as part of a performance group or can take part in planning awareness-raising events that educate people about the various crises occurring daily around the world. Click here to find out how you can use the power of laughter to ease the trauma of conflict overseas.


  • Battle for Indigenous Rights in Brazil

    If you are passionate about indigenous rights, check out Cultures of Resistance's short film "The Battle for the Xingu." The film is about indigenous Kayapó opposition to the Brazilian government’s proposed Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu River in the Amazon. The dam would have a disastrous impact on the Kayapó homeland. You can learn more about the Kayapó struggle thanks to Cultures of Resistance ally International Rivers, a group that works to encourage more efficient ways of meeting the world’s water and energy needs, which is hosting screenings and discussions of the film. International Rivers offers opportunities for volunteers to take action in solidarity with the Kayapó people. Furthermore, if "The Battle of the Xingu" is not playing near you, we can help you to schedule and host a screening in your hometown. Whether at a house party, on a college campus, or at a neighborhood cinema, Cultures of Resistance can help you to arrange the event and set up a call-in Q&A with one of the filmmakers. If you are interested, please get in touch here or email us at info@culturesofresistance.org.


  • Support the Grassroots Pro-Democracy Movement in Iran

    In the summer of 2009 the pro-democracy activists of Iran drew the attention of the world, showing that there is a vibrant, broad-based movement calling for free and fair elections. Cultures of Resistance endorses efforts to peacefully support citizen diplomacy while opposing hostility on the part of the Washington establishment that is threatening more violence. If you would like to be involved in opposing war and promoting democracy, we have identified a number of leading groups that offer various opportunities to take action. Peace Action, the largest grassroots peace network in the United States, has circulated a petition that urges top government officials to take any necessary steps to avoid escalation and reach a peaceful resolution with Iran. Beyond this, you can also join their network and receive action alerts about opportunities to join with other concerned citizens in demonstrations near your community to demand diplomacy over aggression. The Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII) brings together people of all ideologies to oppose military intervention with Iran. They can provide you with the tools and advice you will need to bring an expert speaker to your community for a public educational event. If you are an Iranian-American and would like to make your voice heard, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a leading advocacy group that calls for more diplomatic relations with Iran, offers workshops in communities around the U.S. By organizing or attending a workshop, you can learn about letter-writing, framing, and other ways to effectively influence their elected representatives. To learn more about the state of foreign policy toward Iran and how to join others in calling for more peaceful relations, click here to visit our issue page.


  • wiwa-thumb1Intern to Enforce International Law in Thailand, Ecuador, and Nigeria

    If you want to support legal campaigners who are developing cutting-edge strategies to enforce international law, join with CoR partners the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and EarthRights International. Both organizations’ legal experts worked with grassroots activists for nearly a decade and a half on a lawsuit against the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, which they charged was complicit in widespread human rights abuses in the Niger River Delta. This work culminated last year in the landmark settlement of the Wiwa v. Shell case, which created a $15.5 million fund to compensate the 10 plaintiffs and to create the Kiisi (Progress) Trust. Building on this victory and challenging other corporate abuses, EarthRights International is pursuing numerous international lawsuits against Chevron for the contamination of the environment in the Ecuadorean and Peruvian Amazon. CCR continues its work with initiatives ranging from lawsuits against private military contractors in Iraq to defending free speech worldwide. Those interested in joining their efforts can apply for internships at both organizations' international offices. At CCR current law students can get first-hand experience in the international legal process through the Ella Baker Summer Internship Program, providing direct assistance to attorneys working on these historic cases. High school and undergraduate students can also apply for internships throughout the year. EarthRights International offers legal internships for law students and program internships for graduate and undergraduate students at its U.S. and Thailand offices. Click here to visit our issue page, where you can learn more about the Shell case and how to get involved in this and other international law campaigns.


  • Use the Power of Poetry to Promote Peace

    If you are a poet or an artist looking for ways to join creative movements against armed conflict and oppression, Poets Against War encourages you to organize your own public poetry readings. They offer a complete how-to guide and flier templates to help you at each step along the way in planning a reading in your community and help bring amplify the voice of like-minded citizens through the universal language of poetry. Contact CoR if you have any additional questions.


  • Raise Awareness about Contemporary Slavery

    Although we think of slavery as a thing of the past, the truth is that millions of men, women, and children remain enslaved throughout the world. Today, campus activists are playing a key role in working to stop modern-day slavery, with recent campaigns focusing on efforts in Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Sudan. If you are a student and would like to take a stand on this issue, Anti-Slavery International provides step-by-step guidance on how to start an anti-slavery group at your school or university. They can help you become a campus leader on this issue and assist you by organizing speaking events featuring international activists or former victims of slavery. They can also plug you into the national effort to lobby against slavery and link you with other campus groups that are a part of a broader movement. If you are not a student, other opportunities exist. Anti-Slavery International’s current Breaking the Silence Campaign provides teachers with advice and support materials, including lesson plans, classroom activities, and informational resources, to assist you in accurately teaching the historical importance of slavery and why it is still relevant today. If you are not in the classroom, Anti-Slavery International offers the tools to establish your own anti-slavery group and can help you organize awareness-raising events in your local community. Click here to learn more about contemporary slavery.


  • Join in the Campaign to Ban Cluster Bombs

    The international campaign to ban cluster bombs recently achieved a historic victory that no one thought was possible, and it is now pushing forward for even larger gains. In February 2010, when Burkina Faso and Moldova ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the treaty reached the 30 ratifications necessary to enter into force; the agreement to ban these indiscriminate and inhumane weapons became binding international law on August 1, 2010. However, critical work remains to be done. The United States and other major military powers have not yet signed or ratified the Convention. The Cluster Munitions Coalition needs your help to pressure these governments to accept and adopt the provisions set forth in the treaty. You can help to build a social movement that is changing international law by joining in this campaign. A first step is to find out what your country is doing to ban cluster bombs and whether it has signed on to the international treaty to ban them. With the help of the Coalition, you can go further by organizing an educational event, giving a presentation to your school, church, community, or workplace, or fundraising for a safer world for all. Click here to visit our issue page, where you can watch our short film about the campaign to ban cluster munitions.


  • Support the Rehabilitation of Child Soldiers

    In many regions of the world, but particularly in Africa, children as young as nine years of age are being forcefully recruited and made to fight in armed conflicts, robbing them of their adolescence and leaving deep emotional scars even after the conflicts have ended. You can make a personal impact by sponsoring the rescue and rehabilitation of a former child soldier. The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers recommends two programs for helping child soldiers recover from their wounds. Through the Childsoldiers / Kindsoldaten vzw Sponsorship Program you can assist in educating former child soldiers at the Rachele Rehabilitation Center, where your donation will cover a child’s annual school fees and educational expenses. Because girls are often victim to increased stigmatization and rejection by their home communities, the Coalition also emphasizes the importance of gender-focused rehabilitation programs. Through the Zion Project's sponsorship program, you can provide vital assistance in addressing the urgent needs of rescued girls, including rape counseling, parenting skills, and HIV/AIDS education. Beyond supporting an individual child, you can join the Coalition on Facebook and connect with others creating political pressure to end the use of child soldiers. Currently, Coalition activists are writing key UN ambassadors to turn up the heat on the 61 countries that have yet to ratify the United Nations child soldiers treaty. Click here to learn more about the campaign to end the use of child soldiers.


  • Teach Capoeira in Refugee Camps

    Capoeira, a Brazilian dance sport of athletic skills and acrobatic technique, was first developed by slaves on Brazil’s plantations. It is believed that, in an attempt to remain ready for possible rebellions, slaves disguised African fighting techniques as dances rituals. Groups such as CapoeirArab, which appear in the CoR feature documentary, have adapted capoeira’s legacy of performance and cultural resistance to help address the needs of people who today are refused their freedom of movement, such as Iraqis living in Syrian refugee camps. The art form’s performance circles, music, and ritualized “fighting” has helped build a sense of community, personal dignity, and a brief escape from the challenges of life in the refugee camps. If you are looking for ways to use capoeira as a means of peace and justice, take a look to see if any of the groups on our list operate in your community. If you are a teacher, advanced student, or have other capoeira experience, please contact us here or send us an email to discuss how you can get involved in reviving the dance's role as an active form of cultural resistance.




Additional Links

Additional Links

Central to the mission of Cultures of Resistance network is helping people join the movements that touch on issues that are most important to them. The following is a list of groups whose work we have chosen to highlight and recommend for those seeking to engage in various social justice campaigns. To visit a group's website, click on its name below.

Cultures of Resistance: Feature Film

Cultures of Resistance: Feature Film

Cultures of Resistance

To host a September screening, write us at info@culturesofresistance.org

Cultures of Resistance (CoR) the feature film is now showing at international festivals. Click here to watch the trailer or scroll down to watch excerpts from the film.

Cultures of Resistance the film is a feature-length documentary directed by Iara Lee. The film draws connections between people on every continent and highlights the work of artists, musicians, and dancers throughout the world who are re-conceiving resistance as a fundamentally creative act. The Cultures of Resistance website seeks to get audiences involved with the activist groups and campaigns featured in the film.


Upcoming Screenings:

  • TBA

Past Screenings:



Summary

Does each gesture really make a difference? Can music and dance be weapons of peace? In 2003, on the eve of the Iraq war, director Iara Lee embarked on a journey to better understand a world increasingly embroiled in conflict and, as she saw it, heading for self-destruction. After several years, travelling over five continents, Iara encountered growing numbers of people who committed their lives to promoting change. This is their story. From IRAN, where graffiti and rap became tools in fighting government repression, to BRAZIL, where musicians reach out to slum kids and transform guns into guitars, and ending in PALESTINIAN refugee camps in LEBANON, where photography, music, and film have given a voice to those rarely heard, CULTURES OF RESISTANCE explores how art and creativity can be ammunition in the battle for peace and justice.

Featuring: Medellín poets for peace, Capoeira masters from Brazil, Niger Delta militants, Iranian graffiti artists, women’s movement leaders in Rwanda, Lebanon’s refugee filmmakers, U.S. political pranksters, indigenous Kayapó activists from the Xingu River, Israeli dissidents, hip-hop artists from Palestine, and many more...


Trailer





Film Excerpts


The following are two excerpts from Cultures of Resistance the feature film:

1. See how people from Brazil's urban slums are confronting gun violence through music, education, and photography.


2. Watch activists and musicians standing up to protest the occupation of Palestinian territories.



Additional Material



directed by iara lee

editor: jeff marcello * camera: david ross smith

90 minutes, color, English subtitles, HDCam, 2010 Caipirinha Productions

ALL INQUIRIES: info@culturesofresistance.org



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