GroundTruth Blog

Powerful community

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by Judy Hatcher

Hands togetherA word that comes up over and over in our work is community. I’ve been reflecting on various physical and virtual communities here at PAN, and the ways in which our lives and aspirations are woven together around our shared goals.

Looking at PAN’s accomplishments over the past year, I’m feeling deeply grateful to each and every person in these communities — including you. Be they a handful of people or hundreds of thousands with common concerns, these overlapping communities provide the inspiration and the muscle we need to transform corporate and government systems.

For example:

  • Earlier this year, we helped stop the sale of methyl iodide, a cancer-causing fumigant commonly used in strawberry fields. It would have been pretty difficult to sustain a five-year fight against a multi-national pesticide company — let alone to win it — without working closely with nonprofit litigators, grassroots coalitions and unionized farmworkers. The collaboration was effective because the participating groups are good team players, consciously building a campaigning community so strong that Arysta, the manufacturer, pulled methyl iodide from the U.S. market.
  • Families across the country put themselves on the map at PAN’s online Honey Bee Haven site, helping us create a network of people concerned about declining bee populations. Thousands of people, in practically every state (and from other countries, too) helped PAN make the case that it's time to save bees and other pollinators from the effects of dangerous pesticides. Additionally, over a million signatures in support of pollinator protection have been delivered to EPA, and we’re petitioning Congress to get involved, too.
  • From San Diego to the north coast, more than 6 million California voters supported labeling foods that are genetically engineered. PAN worked with a core group of partners, supported by businesses and countless volunteers, to undertake a massive voter education campaign — while the opposition was fueled by over $46 million from the Big 6 pesticide companies. We lost the ballot initiative, but our collective efforts drew national attention to corporate control of the food system, and highlighted the link between GE seeds and increased pesticide use.

People stepping up to do their bit, in large ways and in small ways this past year, included:

  • Public health experts and scientists contributed their time and know-how to our recent report on the impact of pesticides on children's health.
  • PAN partner organizations shared tools, strategies and information through PAN’s new online community forum.
  • More than 80,000 PAN activists engaged online, responding regularly to our calls to action.
  • Nearly 2,000 individuals, along with institutions, donated to help us keep the work going.

And don’t get me started on PAN’s volunteer board of directors and amazing staff, who manage all the activities above, and more, with grace, professionalism and heart. Every week I’m grateful all over again to be part of this very special little community of dedicated and skillful people who support, oversee and do PAN’s day-to-day work.

Thank you for being part of one — or more — of PAN’s various communities. Together we’re going to have an amazing 2013!

Judy Hatcher's blog

is PAN's Executive Director. Judy also serves on the boards of directors of the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, and the national progressive foundation RESIST. She is also a member of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Advisory Panel. Follow @judyatpan

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