On Saturday, June 27, a Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba will visit Milwaukee with a 6 p.m. dinner and a 7 p.m. program at Central United Methodist Church (CUMC), 639 N. 25th St. There is no charge, but people are invited to bring a dish to share and/or a monetary donation to Pastors for Peace.
The program will feature an expert on the current status of U.S./Cuban relations from Purdue University, plus students and staff of Marquette University involved in the censored mural of a Black activist who received asylum in Cuba.
A school bus headed to Cuba, as part of the challenge to the continuing US embargo and travel restrictions will be loaded with material donations to be delivered to the Martin Luther King Center in Havana.
“The Caravan is an act of friendship with the Cuban people and to show support for ending the economic blockade and travel restrictions which are still in place,” stated Gail Walker, co-Executive Director of Pastors for Peace.
Ms. Walker grew up in Milwaukee, attended Marquette, and her father Lucius Walker was the first African American professional assigned to work on Milwaukee’s southside as the youth leader for the Christian Center, and he later was the founding Executive Director of Northcott Neighborhood House in Milwaukee.
Pastors for Peace also administers admissions for Cuba’s free medical school program geared towards students of color in the U.S., who promise to work in an underserved community after they graduate. There are currently two Wisconsin women studying medicinefree of charge in Havana, both of whom were born in Milwaukee.
The June 27 program will include an update on US/Cuba relations by Purdue University Prof. Harry Targ, author of Cuba and the USA: A New World Order?, as well as recent essays on threats to academic freedom in the U.S. Also speaking will be students and staff at Marquette who created a mural of a Black activist Assata Shakur.
The Marquette University administration painted over the mural and summarily terminated the director of the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center, Dr. Susannah Bartlow, who will also speak on June 27.
The Caravan will visit some 50 U.S. cities with educational events and collections of humanitarian donations, such as construction supplies and tools; medical equipment and supplies (expiration January 2016 or later); bikes/wheelchairs/walkers in good condition; school supplies; and as bibles in Spanish.
Donations can be dropped off at CUMC, 639 N. 25th St. – (414) 344-1600 – at the following times: Mon. through Fri., 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and after service on Sundays, at 11:15 AM, as well as on Saturday, June 20, between 10 a.m. and noon. For a complete list of what and how to donate, visit www.wicuba.org.
The Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba is hosting this event. For more information, call (414) 273-1040, or visit www.wicuba.org; and for info on the Caravan, visit www.pastorsforpeace.org.