June Speaker Series

Welcome to our June 2021 Virtual Speaker Series

For 35 years Equal Exchange has been doing things differently. By working with small-scale farmers organized democratically, being structured as a worker-owned cooperative, and connecting consumers like you directly to your food we have proven through our success that an alternative trade model is possible. We have not done this alone, we have made many friends along the way and this Virtual Speaker Series is celebrating our solidarity network of which you are all a part.

We are excited to introduce three exceptional individuals to this community. Commercial Manager Miguel Mateo Sebastion of Manos Campesinas in Guatemala, Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), and Pushpika Freitas Founder of Marketplace Handwork of India.

Please join us for this exciting series and make sure you register for each event you plan to attend!

Miguel Mateo Sebastian

Migration, Climate Change, and Fair Trade: How are Farmers Faring in 2021?

Wednesday, June 9th
7:00 - 8:15 pm Eastern
6:00 - 7:15 pm Central
4:00 - 5:15 pm Pacific

We are very fortunate to invite you to meet a recognized farmer cooperative movement leader in Guatemala, Miguel Mateo Sebastian. An activist in the often dangerous arena of rural community organizing for 25 years, since 2007 Miguel has been the Commercial Manager for the longstanding Equal Exchange partner co-op Manos Campesinas. Miguel is uniquely positioned to reflect on the inextricably linked themes of migration, the climate crisis and fair trade to present a real-life understanding of how small farmers and their organizations are faring in 2021.


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Miguel Mateo Sebastian

Rep. Jim Mcgovern

Global solidarity in 2021: Can it meet today's crises of climate change, pandemic and massive migration?

Wednesday, June 16th
5:00 - 6:15 pm Eastern
4:00 - 5:15 pm Central
2:00 - 3:15 pm Pacific

We are excited to invite you to a unique opportunity to meet U.S. Representative Jim McGovern who hails from Worcester, MA. Jim is a longtime friend of Equal Exchange and holds a special place in the hearts of thousands who have struggled for democracy and human rights in Central America. Our relationship with Jim dates to our founding, which we trace to May 1, 1986. Now at our 35th anniversary, we recall the pivotal role Jim played in the birth of Equal Exchange. As a “super-aide” to Congressman Joe Moakley he helped us navigate a loophole in Reagan’s embargo on Nicaragua to permit our first shipment of coffee to be released from customs that day, which poetically then became the day we entered the world of alternative trade.

First elected in 1996, Jim now chairs the Rules Committee in the U.S. Congress – an extraordinarily important role in that body. He has been a leading voice on ending hunger and food insecurity both in the United States and globally. He has been an equally leading voice in international human rights, a cause for which he has in fact been arrested multiple times. Jim makes us proud and we are eager for you to meet him.


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Rep. Jim Mcgovern

Pushpika Freitas

Building the Alternative Trade Economy With Allies in Challenging Times

Tuesday, June 22nd
7:00 - 8:15 pm Eastern
6:00 - 7:15 pm Central
4:00 - 5:15 pm Pacific

We are proud to present a true ally and veteran leader of the Alternative Trade movement worldwide, Pushpika Freitas. Marketplace is a nonprofit Alternative Trade and Development Organization that grew out of a small-scale venture in 1980 to help three low-income women in Mumbai, India. Today, Marketplace has grown into a flourishing alternative trade organization working with 400 artisans that are organized into 11 independent cooperatives. Marketplace seeks to provide opportunities for women to participate in all aspects of running the cooperatives while producing high-quality women’s apparel and home decor.


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Pushpika Freitas