In 1977 Daniel Alejandrez made a commitment to live up to his nickname, Nane,which means 'walk in peace.' That year he co-founded Barrios Unidos, a community organization based in Santa Cruz, California, and devoted to stopping gang violence. Today there are chapters throughout California, as well as the newly created Cesar Chavez Institute for Social Change in Santa Cruz, which Alejandrez also helped found. Barrios Unidos is calling for an end to the violence through outreach, leadership development, mentorship, and the Cesar Chavez Peace Plan--a practical blueprint for local and national community transformation.
For more information: 313 Front St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060; 408/457-8208.
2) Wilderness Watch
This six-year-old organization steps in and battles for pristine wilderness when federal agencies fall down on the job or commercial interests get too grabby. Wilderness Watch has filed suit against the Forest Service as a result of its refusal to enforce the dismantling of some permanent, destructive camps in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. The group has also taken aim at the development of 'outfitter camps' (fully equipped modern lodges) that endanger the shorelines of the Wild Salmon River, in violation of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
Dedicated solely to preserving American wilderness and wild rivers protected by the Wilderness Act and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Wilderness Watch monitors over 650 designated wildernesses and 120 rivers. It educates the public and the government about the legal and ethical issues of wilderness use, advocating no-trace use, promoting public involvement in decision making, and monitoring the Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River management programs in Washington and in the field.
For more information: Box 9175, Missoula, MT 59807; 406/542-2048; e-mail WILDWATCH@igc.apc.org.
3) The Horizons Initiative
Through the smoke and hot air fanned by the ferocious welfare reform debate, there are groups that still see the children. Since 1988 the Boston-based Horizons Initiative has been providing child care in shelters for the homeless, giving homeless mothers the much-needed freedom to keep appointments, find jobs, and work toward self-sufficiency.
Grappling with the reality that approximately 40 percent of the homeless population is made up of families, the Horizons Initiative has created a broad spectrum of programs to help mothers and create a stimulating environment for their children. THI has built and equipped 12 play spaces in shelters throughout the Boston area, and it has opened a full-time child-care center that integrates day care with development of self-sufficiency. More than 800 volunteers staff the programs.
For more information: 90 Cushing Av., Dorchester, MA 02125; 617/287-1900.
4) The Nuclear Resister and Mythbusters #9
In this time of information explosion and media savvy, two publications streamline issues surrounding efficient energy development and inform the public about nuclear power and the antinuclear movement.
The Nuclear Resister is a 15-year-old newsletter created by Felice and Jack Cohen-Joppa that reports on antinuclear nonviolent citizen resistance efforts and on issues such as nuclear waste management and nuclear-related accidents. It is one of a handful of publications that support antinuclear activism in North America.
MYTHBusters #9: Nuclear Power Economics is one of a series of publications produced by the Safe Energy Communication Council. The SECC is a coalition created by national energy, environmental, and media activist organizations such as Greenpeace, Environmental Action, Organizing Media Project, Renew America, and Nuclear Information and Resource Service. MYTHBusters #9 debunks economic claims made over the past 40 years by the nuclear-power industry.
For more information: Nuclear Resister, Box 43383, Tucson, AZ 85733; 520/323-8697.
Safe Energy Communication Council, 1717 Massachusetts Av. NW, Suite 805, Washington, DC 20036; 202/483-8491.5) Women's Q&A
A working woman often doesn't have the time or energy to wade through the sea of publications that target her. C.J. Lonoff, a veteran of the business world herself, has offered a solution: a monthly newsletter that gives concise answers to career women's questions--and all this, without the perfume ads. The publication brings fresh questions to the standard topics of work, home, family, and health. A section on the home, for example, covered environmentally friendly lawn mowers. Readers can interact through the question-of-the-month page, which poses a problem and invites readers to respond. Lonoff also offers an information service to readers who need a quick response to a particular question.
For more information: Subscriber Services, Box 43095, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043-9860.
6) National Jobs for All Coalition
How about a national economic plan that would prescribe jobs at livable wages for everyone who wants to work? How about a shorter work week? More time for leisure, family, and continuing education? How about watching crime rates, poverty, and public fear decline while economic stability and individual pride and self-sufficiency grow? The national Jobs for All Coalition was founded in 1994 with just these goals in mind.
In the brief time since, the organizations founding the Coalition have produced a book titled Jobs for All: A Plan for the Revitalization of America, which outlines proposals for a reduction of work time, direct job creation by the federal government, lifelong learning and career change, an urban youth conservation corps, and sound government finance. The coalition's plan was incorporated into a bill put forward in the House by 17 representatives.
Education and outreach, job vacancy research, and policy formulation in local, national, and international arenas are the coalition's primary activities.
For more information: 475 Riverside Dr., Suite 853, New York, NY 10115-0050; 212/870-3449.
7) From the Hip
With so many photographs zeroing in on the disaffected gazes of body-pierced twentysomethings, it's no surprise that a certain generation has gotten a bad image. This nonprofit aims to help young people gain control over their media image and give publicity to those who are engaged in good works.
From the Hip gives photographers age 25 and younger technical assistance and an outlet for their photos. The photographers try to capture who young people really are and what they're actually doing. The black and white photo project includes contributions from over 100 young photographers who work with young writers and established professional photographers. From the Hip works with The Image Works, a stock-photo agency, to sell photos to clients around the world; profits benefit the young photographers and From the Hip.
For more information: The Image Works, Box 443, Woodstock, NY 12498.
8) Cornucopia Network of New Jersey
This nonprofit environmental group provides information on hot gardening and farming issues through its quarterly newsletter. Its outreach programs include public demonstrations on gardening and composting, farmers markets, and exhibits at fairs and meetings. It also monitors environmental legislation and distributes the latest environmental news in the newsletter. One project turned the city of Newark into a worm village: In January 1995 kids and their parents teamed up with college-level art and architecture students to produce stylish boxes in which red worms convert kitchen waste to fertilizer.
For more information: 12 Terrace Av., Nutley, NJ 07110. 9) Aware
Many people assert the importance of discussing sex but shy away when it comes time to actually say something. When Chris DeChant learned that he was HIV positive, he decided to speak up. His weekly radio program, Aware: Positive Health Talk Radio, produced by the nonprofit HIV Talk Radio Project, started three years ago in Chicago with an audience of 3,000 and is growing rapidly. As of August, he had 200,000 listeners in nine major U.S. cities, including New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. Among the subjects the show has tackled: 'Worried About Last Night?' 'Beating the Safe Sex Blues,' and 'HIV-Positive/HIV-Negative Couples--Is it Really Safe?'
Program guests have included Greg Louganis, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, and Dr. Robert Gallo, co-discoverer of the HIV virus. The show provides national and local updates on health and sexual issues and is open to discussion of all disabling health problems, access to health care, and the oversights of mainstream medicine.
For more information: 180 N. Michigan Av., #405, Chicago, IL 60601; 312/541-TALK.
10) International Campaign to Ban Landmines
According to the U.S. State Department, nearly 2,000 people are killed or injured by land mines each month (90 percent of the victims are civilians), and there are still approximately 100 million live mines in over 60 countries.
Nongovernmental organizations have joined together to form the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children has opened a resource office in Palo Alto, California, to serve as a home base for petitions, letter writing, and poster campaigns in the United States. The commission, organized in 1989, is the only U.S. organization that specifically targets the needs of women and children affected by war, violence, persecution, and famine.
For more information: U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines, c/o Women's Commission for Refugee Women & Children, 636 Waverley St., Palo Alto, CA 94301; 800/853-9292.