Interfaith Worker Justice
Paul Drake, Boston, Massachusetts
At Interfaith Worker Justice we educate, organize, and mobilize people of faith to support workers in their struggle for justice. To this end, we work in congregations to create space for workers' stories of vulnerability to be lifted up, so they can find real solidarity in confronting exploitative employers: on picket lines, in delegations to companies, and other forms public support. We also foster broad engagement on key legislative campaigns to expand workers' rights locally and nationally.
Given how difficult this labor of restorative justice is, it is immensely refreshing to have Equal Exchange as a shining example of a high-road business that embodies so much of what we strive to create in our communities. Equal Exchange, a worker-owned co-op, buys from worker-owned co-ops, and has built equity and democratic participation into its business model. Its rigorous, fair trade purchasing practices ensure that fairness, reciprocity, and dignity are upheld in their global economic partnerships. The core wisdom embodied in these structures is that workers' needs and voices must be formally woven into the fabric of our commercial relationships to ensure their protection.
It has been deeply encouraging to witness Equal Exchange's vocal commitment to these priorities beyond their walls, as well. I have had the privilege of hearing co-Executive Director Rob Everts provide crucial business testimony at the State House in support of the Earned Sick Time bill, and I have seen many hearty souls sustained by Equal Exchange hot cocoa in marches for economic justice. So, I enjoy supporting Equal Exchange not merely as an example but as an ally, and when we build that support into our purchasing practices, we strengthen each other and make our shared vision of an economy that works for all closer to becoming a reality.
As Martin Luther King Jr. put it so well, "We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."