ST. ED'S PROMOTES PEACE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE THROUGH FAIR TRADE LESSON
Last week, the Language Acquisition Department and St. Ed's Campus Ministry hosted the InterReligious Task Force (IRTF) on Central America, a Cleveland-based interfaith group that promotes human rights in Central America and Colombia. After the 1980 execution of four U.S. women in El Salvador, IRTF was formed to live out the legacy of these martyrs and to stand for justice and peace. In addition to setting up a Fair Trade sale for students to buy fair trade goods and gifts for the holiday season, IRTF facilitators created interactive activities so students studying all languages at St. Ed's could better understand the global trade process. By representing different trading factors, including farmers, distributors, supermarkets and the government, students were given pieces of a chocolate bar to indicate how much profit they would receive in their role in the global economy.
"I believe it is always important to give our students an opportunity to hear from experts. As a Holy Cross school, committed to living the Gospel, we are supportive of organizations like IRTF who work to promote peace, justice and economic self-determination through non-violent means and the best way for our students to learn about their work is to let them tell their own story," says VP of Mission Effectiveness Mr. Liam Haggerty '02. "At St. Ed's, we strive to educate students to live in their world and to help them see the ways our Holy Cross values can be a vehicle to transform the world. Sharing the great work of an organization like IRTF with similar world-changing aspirations with our students is the type of opportunity we are always trying to provide for our students."
"This opportunity allowed students to learn more about workers rights both in the United States and in Latin America and offered them a chance to do some holiday shopping in an ethical way while supporting a locally based human rights organization," says Spanish teacher Ms. Elisa Bredendiek. "In the spirit of being in an IB school, this was a great experience for our students to explore the connection between what they learn in the classroom and local non-profit work that pertains to a global context. By exploring the concept of Fair Trade, students learned how their products offer consumers a way to shop consciously, protect our planet and to take a stance on equality and human rights." While some students who participated in this experience are enrolled in IB language courses that already address fair trade and global solidarity within the curriculum, others were able to dive into these concepts early on and kickstart an awareness on these social justice issues. "Fair trade is about dignity," says Mr. Haggerty. "It's a model that ensures that human dignity is respected for all of those involved in the process of bringing a product to market. The Holy Cross Constitutions challenge us to 'hope for a world where justice and love prevail.' Providing an opportunity for our students to learn about fair trade products and IRTF is one small piece of that work."
"At St. Ed's, we are teaching our students to become global-minded and ethical young men in this world," says Ms. Bredendiek. "In addition to learning about fair trade, human rights, and solidarity, I hope our community plants a seed through opportunities like these for students to explore more about their responsibility in creating a more sustainable future."