Coffee Talk on ‘Jumping Over the Cuban Blockade’

Jan. 31 event features coordinator of Illinois Cuba Faith & Action Program

Rockford Peace & Justice Action Committee will present a special program on the effects of the U.S. embargo on Cuba at the next Coffee Talk, 7:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 31, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, 4848 Turner St.

Special guest will be Marilyn McKenna, coordinator of the Illinois Cuba Faith & Action Program of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network. They have two goals: 1) to encourage people to oppose the U.S. embargo of Cuba, particularly the travel restrictions. As part of that effort, McKenna will talk about the Cuba Education Day in Washington, D.C. on March 15; 2) their upcoming trip to Cuba in April, allowing regular Americans to travel to that embargoed country. Through video and slides, McKenna will show what a trip to Cuba is like, what laws should be changed, and how someone can win a trip to Havana and/or Washington, D.C. to lobby for fairness.

McKenna will recruit delegates for both the trip to Washington, D.C. and the trip to Cuba on April 11. The Faith and Action Program has been in existence for five years, and the CRLN has been in existence for 15 years.

“Our experience is that people in Illinois do not support the Bush administration’s tightening of travel restrictions,” said McKenna. Her first trip to Cuba was in 1982, and she has been to Cuba 12 times since then.

She will show a video that explains the effects of the blockade in Cuba. The video was made on a Pastors for Peace caravan. It is titled “Bloqueo,” the Spanish word for “blockade.” Anyone who has been to Cuba is invited to share a story and display souvenirs. A display table will be set up. Door prizes will include Cuban rum and cigars.

Coffee Talks are free and open to the public, presented every Monday evening, 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church. Rockford Peace & Justice Action Committee sponsors the Coffee Talks, with an assist from Rockford Urban Ministries, the Social Responsibilities Committee of the UU Church, and friends of George LaForrest and Rev. John Breck.

For more information, please call Stanley Campbell, director of Rockford Urban Ministries, at (815) 964-7111.

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