A strong cup of joe at Javapalooza

In an effort to raise awareness of world issues surrounding the coffee trade, Students Towards A New Democracy (S.T.A.N.D.), GreenpeaceUM and Amnesty International hosted Javapalooza, a concert aimed to benefit fair trade coffee and the genocide in Sudan, Friday night at the Wesley Center. Featuring the Awesome New Republic, Dead Hookers’ Bridge Club, Fifth Quarter All-Star and Nick Kruge, the packed church relished in good old hard rock and some R&B.

Seeking greater equity in international and domestic trade, S.T.A.N.D. and Oxfam International, a group of organizations that work to find solutions to social issues around the world, advocated for the sustainable development of secure rights and better working conditions for marginalized workers and producers.

“As a project of Oxfam International, fair trade is a movement that supports moral and just trade, not just trade based on the laws of supply and demand,” Patrick Walsh, co-founder of S.T.A.N.D., said.

The concerts sought to bring to light the issues caused by the deregulation of the coffee market. As the price of coffee rises, the monies paid to the farmers significantly decrease, causing undernourishment and a reduction in the ability of farmers to provide adequate healthcare and education for their children.

“Fair trade coffee ensures that the farmers in West Africa and South American countries are given a fair market value for the products they produce. Fair trade coffee is a movement for worker’s rights, a movement to give them a reasonable standard of living,” Carol Vaughan, senior, said.

In addition to the campaign for fair-trade coffee, Javapalooza and Amnesty International aimed to raise awareness of the Sudanese conflict.

“[There is] a genocide in Northern Africa where fighting and violence between the Sudanese government (Arab minority) and civilian black African-American majority has caused massive displacement and death,” Vikash Parikh, Emory University graduate and Paperclips for Peace founder, said.

With the movement towards youth activism on campus, the concert represented the unifying interest of UM students to gradually begin to reshape the world. “Approximately 400,000 people have died since the conflict began. The movement is now to help these Sudanese people,” Trishul Siddharthan, co-founder of Amnesty International, said.

S.T.A.N.D., GreenpeaceUM and People for the American Way (PFAW) will be hosting a Poetry Slam this Friday, at 7 p.m. at the Rathskellar, featuring professional poets from Washington, D.C. – Sekou “tha Misfit’ Andrews and Steve Connell. All poets and topics are welcome. S.T.A.N.D. and PFAW will also be hosting a half-day leadership summit on Saturday, April 9 at the UC Ballroom. Guest speakers will be discussing “Youth Empowerment,” “How to Run and Win Issue Campaigns” and “The Importance of Transnational Advocacy Groups.”

Shelly Garg can be contacted at s.garg@umiami.edu