2001 Annual Report

Food First | 01.01.2002

As we write to you, war rages on and the echo of the September 11th tragedy remains audible. We mourn the terrible waste of human life, here in the United States, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Meanwhile, families a round the world are grieving for loved ones lost, and tremendous resources—which will never be available to fight hunger and poverty—are diverted to defense budgets. We are all still struggling to determine just what it all means…. We are certain, however, that the need has never been greater for a global movement for social and economic justice for all people.

At Food First, we realize that our work is far from done. Millions around the world are hungry, while millions more toil in unsafe working conditions and still do not earn a living wage. Here in America itself, hunger and homelessness have increased yet again, while budgets are balanced on the backs of the poor. Corporate privilege is bolstered as free trade is touted like snake oil as a way to fight terrorism and unite nations. Our international financial institutions continue to serve the interests of giant transnational corporations while they exploit workers and the environment around the world.

In this context September 11 gave us a unique opportunity—a teachable moment. A crucial lesson of September 11 is that the trampling of economic, social and cultural hun1an rights threatens us all. Fifty-three years ago the human rights movement was launched when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations. lt guaranteed us not only civil and political liberties, but also ensured our right to an adequate standard of living. Our human rights were not to be restricted by national borders, ethnicity, religion, class, or gender, and were not to be dependent on the will of others.

In responding to terrorism and the tragedy of September 11, the UDHR should guide the world. Nobody is an exception when it comes to human rights. Every country, starting with America, needs to ratify and implement international human rights treaties like the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and support the institutions that protect human rights, like the new International Criminal Court. Following September 11, the burden falls on the progressive movement to keep the dream alive. At Food First, we have a clear vision of what we want the world to look like, and we know how to get there.

Our vision of peace and security is not only about the absence of want, but is about equity and justice for all. Our vision is of a world free of hunger where the working poor earn a living wage and the landless have a true right to land. This would be a world where children have the right to a safe and healthy childhood. Our vision would ensure human dignity and human rights for all. At Food First we have struggled for these values for 26 years and we will not give up our fight. Through education, research for action, and advocacy, Food First remains steadfast in its commitment to justice and enduring peace. We will continue to be a force for change. We are grateful for your loyal partnership over the years. Our work is far from done, the struggle continues, and we feel well accompanied by the fact that we are in it together.