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News :: Environment : Globalization : Human Rights : International : Labor
Local Activists Raise Funds for Fair Trade
19 Oct 2005
Modified: 10:58:59 AM
Fair Trade activists came together Monday night to raise funds for trade justice around the world in style. The model in the photo is wearing a scarf, hat and bag that were produced by workers paid fair wages in safe conditions and produced in a way that is more respectful of the environment. Photo by Christopher Brown.
Over 150 local activists celebrated trade justice in style and raised over $1,000 at the Fair Trade Fiesta at All Asia Café last Monday night. The fundraiser was hosted by the Boston Fair Trade Coalition in cooperation with Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community (UUJEC), Oxfam America, It’s Only Fair, Dean’s Beans, and other local organizations.

“The event was a great success,” said Elisa Arond of Oxfam America. “The Fair Trade Fiesta was a wonderful way to celebrate Fair Trade, highlighting how each and every one of us can make a real difference in the lives of farmers and artisans around the globe.”

The fiesta was held to coincide with the national celebration of Fair Trade Month, and is one in a series of events in the Boston area. The event on October 17 also fell on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, as declared by the United Nations. Advocates see more equitable trade policies as vital for lasting solutions to poverty.

During the fiesta a silent auction, a raffle and a fashion show highlighted clothing, jewelry, food, and other items made by workers paid fair wages in safe conditions and produced in a way that is more respectful of the environment. Those who attended enjoyed Fair Trade Certified™ basmati rice, and chocolate fondue, among other delicious dishes. Music was provided by DJ DC and Heist, a local band and member of Musicians Against Sweatshops. Items were donated by many organizations such as Aid to Artisans, Dean’s Beans, Its Only Fair, Equal Exchange, and many others.

Fair Trade Certified™ goods like chocolate, coffee, tea, rice, sugar and fruit, promise a livable wage for workers, and a “social premium” that funds clean water project, education, decent health care and protection for rainforests in farming communities. Very few consumers know that when they buy Fair Trade, they can do more to help the artisans and farmers who worked hard to produce the products.

A portion of the money raised from the evening will go towards purchasing a sewing machine for fair trade artisans in El Salvador. The rest of the funds will go to the Boston Fair Trade Coalition in order to further its work in promoting Fair Trade in the Boston area. Upcoming events include a Halloween action around Fair Trade chocolate followed by a November 19th Supermarket Day of Action focused on encouraging stores to stock and promote more Fair Trade products.

“Fair Trade is about building community – both locally and trans-nationally," said Arond. "Here in Boston Fair Trade is bringing together people from diverse backgrounds, from faith groups to students, environmentalists and labor rights advocates. And at the same time we are also cultivating international partnerships based on dignity and respect. That is the essence of Fair Trade. The Fair Trade movement is growing because it is based on a common value of fairness. Who can say no to that?”

For more information about the Boston Fair Trade Coalition, and to get involved, visit their website at: or contact Elisa Arond at 617-728-2552.
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