Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Liberals please note: Not all folks in Texas are bad

I know a lot of us with Fair Trade sympathies associate Texas with President Bush, Bush with the war in Iraq, the war with torture, unilateralism, slaughter, wasted resources...well, you get the picture. But we shouldn't forget music from Austin, Texmex food, and the wisdom of the late Molly Ivins. What I've also recently learned is that we also shouldn't count out the Fair Traders of Houston.

I was at the University of St. Thomas doing a Fair Trade gig for my day job at Catholic Relief Services. While there, the good folks of Te' House of Tea hosted a book reception, and I met lots of Houston locals and transplants that support progressive values and commitment to global concerns within the local community. Kevin and Connie Lacobie have created a peaceful, community friendly space at Te' where tea lovers and Tango dancers alike can gather. (Yes, its true. They push the tables back on Friday nights and let the Tango lessons begin!)

While I was there, people with new interests in Fair Trade munched yummy finger sandwiches and checked out some of non-tea products such as bamboo towels, while getting to know tried-and-true Fair Traders. I met Tim O'Brian, southeast regional coordinator of United Students for Fair Trade, his wife, baby, as well as a wide range of regular folk who came out on short notice to talk trade and community development. Thanks Kevin and Connie!

A Houston native, Cassie Martin, manager of Ten Thousand Villages, also hosted a book signing at her store. Villages is so fortunate in Houston to have a dedicated corps of volunteers and a working Board of Directors, to help make the store both a cultural resource and destination for Fair Trade shopping. Store assistant Kay gave me tips on book promotion, as she used to run a bookstore herself. It was a great evening, and I learned once again to work on my stereotypes and preconceived notions about folks from the Lone Star state!

I really hope to visit Houston and Texas again, and I thank all the Fair Traders there for their efforts to share the power and impact of Fair Trade!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jackie,

    Awhile ago you mentioned that you were writing a speech on fair trade milestones and landmarks. I'm wondering if you completed this speech and if I might be able to read a copy of it.

    Elisabeth Garson