A note from friend and activist Mark Schuller:
We came so close in last year's congress to canceling 67 countries' debt. Now with the global financial crisis the work will be harder, which is why we can use all the organizing tools we can secure.
I am writing to ask your help in building a movement for justice for women, for workers, and for Haiti. I am writing to ask your support for the documentary "Poto Mitan: Haitian Women, Pillars of the Global Economy."
Told through compelling lives of five courageous Haitian women workers, Poto Mitan gives the global economy a human face. Each woman's personal story explains neoliberal globalization, how it is gendered, and how it impacts Haiti: inhumane working/living conditions, violence, poverty, lack of education, and poor health care. While Poto Mitan offers in-depth understanding of Haiti, its focus on women's subjugation, worker exploitation, poverty, and resistance demonstrates these are global struggles. Finally, through their collective activism, these women demonstrate that despite monumental obstacles in a poor country like Haiti, collective action makes change possible.
Poto Mitan's unique quality rests upon the women's acute understanding of the power of film. Citing the Haitian proverb, tande ak we se de (hearing and seeing are two different things), the women implored me to share their stories with people in the U.S., people who have the power to make change.
Haiti's poor majority - to say nothing about Haiti's women - are often spoken for and about, but rarely given the chance to speak on their own behalf. This is what we've worked how to do, to present these women's real struggles, analysis, and activism in a way that showcases their humanity and their dignity.
From the onset, Poto Mitan has aimed to educate and inspire people to think critically, look behind the label, and get involved. Fighting for justice: for women, workers, or Haiti can't help but bring about our own liberation.
In addition to my attempt to repay my debt to these brave Haitian women, and to honor their request to share their stories, activist filmmaker Renee Bergan and I are making Poto Mitan to raise Haiti's profile, to raise the standards for Haiti's media image, to raise awareness, to raise funds for Haiti, and to raise people's voices to demand change.
Together with our 18 organizational partners we're planning a series of house party campaigns to bring people together to watch the film and to raise funds and take concrete actions - like cancel Haiti's debt.