It’s October 12th: What are you celebrating?

Today is known in many countries as "Columbus Day"
to celebrate Christopher Columbus' voyage to the Discovery of the Americas. Barcelona Columbus Statue

But this "discovery" of a continent of people
(with thousands of years of previous existence) is not a celebratory event in
many parts of the Americas. Columbus, in Spanish "Cristobal Colón",
represents "Colonialismo"
, that is, colonialism. The beginning of
over 500 years of economic, cultural, religious and social repression, not to
mention the deaths of millions of what were considered sub-human, heathen,
indigenous people.

This legacy of foreign domination and economic exploitation
lives on, much like the legend of Columbus. It lives on through unjust trade
like NAFTA, CAFTA and the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement. These
agreements crush small farmers, impede food sovereignty, weaken local
governance, and perpetuate dependency.

This October 12th, join PCUSA and other justice
organizations throughout the hemisphere to re-make history. Celebrate
International Trade Justice Action Day
. (There are events near you!)

President Obama promised during his campaign that he would
re-assess the Free Trade Agreements like NAFTA. So far, he has missed critical
opportunities to reform these policies. A new bill in Congress, however,
proposes just that. And we need your help.

Called the TRADE Act (Trade Reform, Accountability,
Development and Employment Act
), it is a way of ensuring that everyone benefits
from a trade relationship. It takes a new look at existing trade treaties and
sets up structures to enforce labor rights, environmental protections,
community development, and local government sovereignty. It is a step closer to
a national policy of Fair Trade, of which over 72 US Congress people are vocal

Please take a minute to send this letter from the PCUSA Washington Office Action Center to your
representatives TODAY! We are hoping that thousands of constituents use October
12th to speak up about Fair Trade Policies to end the "Colonialismo"
that Colón brought to the Americas over 500 years ago.

Take part in prayer/service this whole week with the PCUSA Food Week activities. 

Alexandra Buck is the Fair Trade Facilitator for the Bridge of Hope Fair Trade program, an element of the Joining Hands Peru Network campaign for trade justice and local economic development. She would appreciate everyone using this Columbus Day to improve international trade relations. She also appreciates llamas, sunny days in the Andes, ceviche, and Incan ruins.