We are please to announce that our annual volunteer award goes to Wes Brain from Ashland, OR, who has been a leader for trade justice with the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign (ORFTC) before we were ORFTC. The Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment (ASJE) in Oregon was the precursor to ORFTC and was founded in 1999. Wes Brain was one of the first elected board of directors, representing the labor caucus. The Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment brought together rank-and-file laborers and environmental activists in a strategic alliance that worked to challenge economic policies that destroy good jobs and a healthy environment. As ORFTC does today, ASJE worked to build a world where nature is protected, the worker is respected, and unrestrained corporate power is rejected though grassroots organizing, education, and action. Wes has been at the forefront of the trade justice battle, sharing his talent for bringing together unlikely allies for the mutual and far-reaching benefits of our coalition. He has been the lead organizer on multiple trade justice demonstrations, educational events and lobby visits. He has housed, fed and trained ORFTC organizers, fundraised for the coalition, and helped shape its direction.
Wes’s contributions to the progressive movement are vast. He has been one of the driving forces of Southern Oregon Jobs with Justice (SOJwJ), and is a retired member-activist with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 503, two of ORFTC’s strongest coalition partners. Before that he was a firefighter for sixteen years in Jackson County. Wes believes strongly that healthcare is a human right and sits on the board of Health Care for ALL Oregon. Wes also hosts the Brain Labor Report, an hour-long radio show every Wednesday at 9 a.m. on KSKQ, the Rogue Valley’s community radio station, www.kskq.org. Wes knows the definition of solidarity and continues to reached out to SEIU, KSKQ, SOJwJ and elsewhere to educate and agitate for trade justice.
This is our second annual volunteer award given in loving memory of Daniel F. Bonham, ORFTC’s former Secretary-Treasurer, who dedicated his life to working to create a more just society. In remembering Daniel’s amazing contributions Arthur Stamoulis, CTC Director said, “Where I grew up, the highest compliment you could give a person is that they are a hard worker. Daniel was an incredibly hard worker when it came to demanding that people’s rights be respected. He was never afraid to step up and grab the megaphone and speak out, but he also never shied away from the grunt work that makes effective organizing possible, and he was almost ridiculously committed to seeing that that nuts-and-bolts work got done.”