Pastors for Peace President to Speak at Send-Off for Caravan to Cuba; Donations now being collected

July 9, 2010
6:30pm potluck dinner, 7:15pm program with speaker Rev. Thomas E. Smith
Central United Methodist Church – 639 N. 25th St. (25th Street and Wisconsin Avenue)

-Collecting humanitarian donations is ongoing from now until July 9-
The Pastors’ Caravan is an act of nonviolent civil disobedience designed to show friendship between the people of the U.S. and Cuba, and to educate the prublic here about the effects of the continued US ban on travel to and trade with Cuba, which has been in effect for nearly 50 years.

Between now on July 9, local supporters of the Caravan are collecting donated humanitarian supplies for the Caravan, including wheelchairs, crutches, building supplies, Bibles in Spanish, unopened medicine with expiration dates of February 1, 2011 or later, bicycles, musical instruments and sports equipment, all of which must be in good shape and working order. Donations can be dropped off now until July 9th at Central United Methodist Church at 25th Street and Wisconsin Avenue

(office hours Mon.-Thurs. 9am-2:30pm and Sunday 8:30am-11;45am; best to call 414 344-1600 in advance). For more information, see http://www.wicuba.org or http://www.pastorsforpeace.org or call the Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba, 414-273-1040, ext. 12, or 414-964-0350.

The event is free and open to the public.
This Year’s Speaker

This year’s guest speaker is Rev. Thomas E. Smith. Rev. Smith currently serves as the Pastor of the Monumental Baptist Church of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His duties include the senior pastoral responsibilities of a three hundred member congregation. In addition to pastoral duties of the church, Rev. Smith serves as Executive Director of the House of David, Chairman of the Center for Family Excellence and Chairman of Monumental Mission Ministries Inc. Rev. Smith serves on the boards of the Allegheny County Volunteer Board for Emergency Food and Shelter and the Metro-Urban Institute.
Rev. Smith also serves as President of the Board of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization/Pastors for Peace, and has traveled with Pastors for Peace to Cuba on many occasions, as well as to Chiapas, Mexico. Rev Smith was one of the members of the caravan who met with ex-president Fidel Castro on the 2009 caravan. Rev. Smith will share his important perspective on why we challenge an unjust law that asks us to hate our neighbor.

Why caravan to Cuba?

The US embargo of Cuba causes shortages of food, medicine and other important supplies for eleven million people. The embargo is an immoral policy that uses hunger and disease as political weapons.

IFCO/Pastors for Peace works with the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center in Havana, the Cuban Council of Churches and a distribution committee with representatives from ten different Cuban denominations to deliver US-Cuba Friendshipments. These humanitarian aid shipments mitigate the impact of the embargo and mobilize thousands of US citizens in favor of an alternative. We call for an end to the embargo and normalization of relations between our two countries. As a matter of principle, the Friendshipments refuse to apply for a license under the terms of the embargo, since to do so would be a de facto recognition of an immoral policy. From 1992 to 2009, IFCO/Pastors for Peace has delivered twenty Friendshipments to Cuba; some encountered resistance from U.S. officials, but arrived safely in Cuba after these officials backed down. These provide proof of the power that people can have when they are organized, motivated and determined. Speaking truth to power and standing firm in the face of injustice are central to the work of IFCO/ Pastors for Peace.

How can you help?

Collect and donate material aid to send to Cuba. What items should be sent?

Below is a summary of general aid needs in Cuba. When sending solidarity aid to Cuba, it is essential that all items collected must be new or in excellent condition, clean and rust-free. Do not donate items that are not in working condition. This is not an opportunity to clean out junk from garages or basements. If it’s not good enough for you and your family, don’t send it to our Cuban brothers and sisters.

The 21st US-Cuba Friendshipment this July –

Will once again be prioritizing construction supplies for the ongoing reconstruction effort after the 3 devastating hurricanes that damaged over 500,000 homes in Cuba in the fall of 2008


* Plumbing: nuts, bolts, washers and all thread, plastic pipe fittings, toilets, sinks, faucets, PVC plastic fittings, copper fittings and valves, drains and stoppers, pipes, shower fixtures
* Carpentry: nails, hammers, screws, drills, flashing, wall anchors, saws and saw blades, banding tools, door hanging tools, ladders, jacks, plaster, sandpaper
* Electrical: any electrical wiring, fasteners, electrical boxes and covers, electrician tools, energy efficient lighting and bulbs, extension cords and adapters, generators, electric line testers, electrical tape
* Masonry: grouts, sealants, horizontal reinforcing, masonry admixtures, masonry hand tools (floats, trowels), chisels (wood and masonry)
* Painting: brushes, rollers, lead-free paint, brush extenders, paint plates
* Protective Gear: dust masks, work gloves, protective eyeglasses

What we take in general…

* Vehicles: School buses, ambulances, trucks, pick-ups, mobile libraries (bookmobiles) – diesel & stick shift preferred – in good condition and with at least several years of life left in them.
* Computers: IBM compatible computers with Pentium III or better processors, and all computer accessories/peripherals. Must be in full working order. All types of printers but especially Epson LX 300 and HP laser jet 1200
* Educational supplies: All types of educational materials including for writing on and with etc (but pen, pencils, paper etc must be new/unused)
* Medical equipment/supplies/medicines: All kinds if equipment in good working order,
* supplies sterile and supplies/medicines with expiration date Feb 1, 2011 or later
* Books: Medical and scientific textbooks and journals in Spanish or English
* Alternative transportation/energy equipment: e.g. Bicycles (good condition), solar panels
* Sports/arts/cultural equipment: All kinds if in good condition.
* Musical Equipment: Musical instruments especially, DJ equipment, sound equipment
* Bibles: All Bibles must be in Spanish.
* Food: Powdered milk, infant formula, dietary supplements – in original factory-sealed containers. .
* Car mechanics tools: Tools must be in good condition or new.
* Home supplies: Factory new clothing in bulk quantities.

And what we don’t take …

because it is inappropriate or because Mexican customs won’t let it through

* Anything that is not in good working order or is rusty
* Medication and medical supplies that have already expired or will reach their expiration date before February 1, 2011
* Medication and medical supplies that have been opened
* Computers older than Pentium III (about 7 years old) or that are not IBM compatible
* Books, in English or Spanish, that are not medical or scientific text books/journals
* Any clothing, sheets, towels, etc. that are not enclosed in their original packaging.
* Used paper
* Canned food

Join the caravan!

Milwaukee has a proud tradition of “caravanistas”. Could you be the next? I guarantee it will change your life. Contact Pastor for Peace or the Coalition for more information.

Donations can be dropped off at Central United Methodist Church between June 1st and July 9th (best to call 414 344-1600 in advance) or call 414-273-1040 ext. 12 or 414-964-0350 (Marty) for information.

If you have questions, contact IFCO/Pastors for Peace at

418 W. 145th St. New York, NY 10031 Phone: 212– 926-5757 Fax: 212-926-5842


email: cucaravan@igc.org

“Solidarity on the Move!”

We are also co-sponsoring a visit by progressives from Washington state who will be passing through Milwaukee on Wed. June 16th on their way the the US Social Forum in Detroit. The Social Forum is a gathering of progressives from across the country (http://www.ussf2010.org) and we are pleased to welcome and house our brothers and sisters from the west coast. There will be a pot-luck supper and discussion beginning at 6:15 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church, 639 N. 25th St.

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