If, like me, you’ve felt blue at times during this last year, or tired, or hopeless, our recent impact report might be a tonic. In it, you’ll find stories of ordinary people taking on grave injustice, and winning.
You’ll read how a grieving mother in Mozambique organized with her neighbors to end systemic corruption at the hospital they depend on. How communities in Myanmar stopped unlawful manganese mines from destroying their forests, water, and farmland. How residents from a low-income, majority African-American neighborhood in Washington DC forced the city’s largest infrastructure project to reduce its air pollution.
You’ll read how, tested by the pandemic, our global community of grassroots justice groups—over 2400 organizations, from nearly every country in the world—has strived to meet this moment. How we came together to create the COVID-19 Grassroots Justice Fund, which has made more of that vital work possible.
Learning from our successes is important, because we face profound challenges. Several paralegals we work with in Myanmar are now in hiding, and one is in prison, because of stands they took in favor of democracy. Most team members with our partner in India are dealing with COVID themselves or caring for sick loved ones. In Peru, three indigenous leaders — partners of our network member Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales — were killed in February and March 2021 for resisting illegal deforestation.
Worldwide, the share of the population in extreme poverty is likely to increase for the first time since the 1990s. The Director of the World Health Organization declared we’ve reached an era of vaccine apartheid. The global Democracy Index had its lowest overall score in 2020 since The Economist started tracking in 2006. And we are on course to experience catastrophic climate change, which will affect poor and exploited communities the most.
The only things that can conquer challenges like these are movements of people committed to justice. And our movement is stronger and more determined than ever.
We look forward to joining hands with you on the road ahead.
With love and respect,
Vivek Maru, CEO