BBCF was incorporated as a non–profit society in British Columbia in 1996. The name comes from the family names of the grandmothers of the 2 founding members; grandmothers whose families fought against each other and died in 2 wars. The founding members were Gerd Weih and Theresa Wolfwood who live in Victoria. The members of the board of BBCF are these founders and Stacy Chappel, Elizabeth Mayne, Peter Nyers, Oona Padgham and Ann Kemp who joined the board in 2010. Ann is a community and women’s activist in Vancouver. Without their support BBCF would not function. Its work depends mainly on donations from generous supporters and revenue from events and sales. We do not accept government or corporate funding.
The fourth issue of The Whole Circle, an occasional journal of BBCF, was produced in fall 2005 and was distributed around the world. The fifth issue of The Whole Circle was printed in 2009. As more & more people rely on electronic media, we put more emphasis on our website. Most of our work and writings are posted on this website. Writings about issues of concern to BBCf by Theresa are also printed in Canadian Dimension, Lower Island News and other websites.
BBCF has been actively working with the Mining Justice Action Committee to bring speakers, films and information to the public on this topic. We also support activities of the Central America Support Committee, helping bring information and speakers from El Salvador and Guatemala about social justice concerns there as well as donating funds to community-based organizations. We co-sponsored the visit of Vidalina Morales of El Salvador’s MESA, a community alliance on mining, and hosted a dinner for her.
In 2013 BBCF helped organize and sponsor a speaker, Alain Deneault on Canadian Mining companies and censorship; the review of his book is on our book review site and has been printed in several publications. (Alain Deneault and William Sacher. Imperial Canada Inc. Legal Haven of Choice for the World’s Mining Industries 2012) It was an excellent and well-attended event. BBCF has been actively working with the Mining Justice Action Committee to bring speakers, films and information to the public on this topic. We also support activities of the Central America Support Committee, helping bring information and speakers from El Salvador and Guatemala about social justice concerns there as well as donating funds to community-based organizations. We co-sponsored the visit of Vidalina Morales of El Salvador’s MESA, a community alliance on mining, and hosted a dinner for her.
Theresa & Gerd attended a conference in Stuttgart in Germany on the “One Democratic State” of Palestine-Israel, BBCF joined an international network of activists to raise awareness of this important concept and donated to resource centers and conferences in Israel and Palestine. BBCF also joined a Canadian Boycott network that focuses on boycotts of goods made in occupied Palestine, including SodaStream.
We helped fund legal expenses and printing costs for several Belgian projects about Belgians who have been persecuted in Belgium and Morocco, people we met when we were there.
BBCF brought Ray Messoud Burhi, Canadian representative of Western Sahara, to Victoria for a week. We organized several public meetings, private meetings with the Salvadorian & Cuban support organizations, MPs, an ethical investor and several media interviews.
We sponsored a poetry and a film showing by Heather Spears in which Theresa also read poetry; another reading of the recent works of, Carole Chambers. BBCF continues to provide support for Food Not Bombs and Women in Black in Victoria.
We have donated funds to Women in Struggle in Pakistan for women’s income generating projects as well as for emergency flood relief. At the year end we donated to a Victoria Philippine organization for typhoon relief. We continue to donate to the publication “Watershed Sentinel” and distribute copies of it in Victoria.
In 2012 BBCF co-sponsored a major conference in Vancouver, BC on ‘Crisis to Commons’, attended by board member Ann Kemp. Theresa Wolfwood and Gerd Weih represented BBCF at a number of events in El Salvador where they were election observers. Before they left they were given financial donations & school supplies by many supporters. These were given to communities where need was greatest, to help with schools, children’s programs and a chicken-egg project in El Milagro, one of the poorest communities in El Salvador. BBCF also gave donations to community activists in San Isidro who are opposed to the gold mining plans of Pacific Rim, a BC based company. Several activists there have been assassinated and many more including our host beaten and left for dead. BBCF also contacted community environmental activists near Oaxaca, Mexico, who are concerned about the activities of Vancouver-based Fortuna Silver Mines. Our plan to meet one community leader failed when he was assassinated the night before we arrived. We met others, made financial donations and attended a memorial for Bernardo Vasquez Sanchez.
In June 2012, BBCF researched and acted on one of its most important concerns, the investment policies of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP IB). After presenting the submission we had several media interviews and articles were written for publication and distribution. The work continues.
We distributed an appeal from Uganda for a village destroyed by a mudslide. The homeless villagers wanted building materials & roofing that BBCF was able to fund, thanks to generous response of supporters.
BBCF had another active year in 2011; with the support of board members and friends we were able to be active in many issues. BBCF continues to sponsor the Victoria Women in Black vigil, including the White Poppy campaign and to support Victoria Food Not Bombs. BBCF is member of The International Peace Bureau, Nobases Network. We continue our support of the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature and Licadho Canada in Cambodia.
We had many requests for funds and try to send funds, especially for emergencies to places and groups with which we have personal connections; that included flood relief in Guatemala, fire relief in Kenya, tsunami relief in Japan as well as making donations for the ill–fated Tahrir boat to Gaza, and legal expenses for a brother of friend in Belgium, on trial for political reasons in Morocco. When we get a major appeal we circulate it to BBCF supporters who always respond generously. We support independent media across Canada. Theresa is often interviewed on Gorilla Radio at UVIC.
In January 2011, BBCF organized a successful event, co–sponsored by other groups, which was a panel of 4 speakers including Wolfwood on “Political Prisoners as a Weapon of War”. Panelists spoke on Canadian, Iraqi, Afghan, USA and Latin American prisoners. Wolfwood spoke on Palestinian Political prisoners, based on her participation and reporting of the conference in Algeria on that topic in December, 2010.
Robert Massoud from Toronto who started Zatoun fair trade olive oil in Canada & founded Beit Zatoun Cultural Centre in Toronto was invited to Victoria by BBCF in 2011; we had successful meetings & events at UVIC, Camosun College & 10,000 Villages stores that sell Zatoun; as a result it is now carried by Blair Market on Pandora St. where it sells well. In May Theresa did a PowerPoint presentation in Toronto at Beit Zatoun on her experiences in Palestine & Jordan.
We also co–sponsored a public event with Yves Engler, a Canadian history writer. Reviews of his books are on bookreviews.bbcf.ca. BBCF supported Political Prisoner actions in Brussels with messages and later with the translation of a review of a book on civil rights & prisoner rights from French to English; reviews on bookreviewsbbcf.ca at Flinker, Jean et al. L´affaire Luk Vervaet. 2011.
In September 2011, Gerd & Theresa went to Diyarbakir, Turkey to attend the Mesopotamia Social Forum. Theresa spoke on a panel on Food Security & Conflict in Palestine. In October she spoke at a meeting in Brussels organized by the group EQUALITE & with Gerd went with the group to a Boycott Soda Stream demo at Brussels fairground. This resulted in an article written by Theresa being published widely on the internet in English, Swedish & Arabic & in Canadian Dimension. In Reading UK they participated in the Reading International Solidarity Centre’s annual international conference; Wolfwood gave a Power point presentation.
On return to Canada they wrote & spoke on their experiences. Theresa also wrote widely distributed and translated articles on “Boycott Soda Stream” and on “Tomatoes as a Weapon of War”; both are on bbcf.ca
We had many requests for funds and try to send funds, especially for emergencies to places and groups with which we have personal connections; that included flood relief in Guatemala, fire relief in Kenya, tsunami relief in Japan.
BBCF also sponsored a speaker from Mexico, Dr. Jose Carlos Fazio, who gave an excellent presentation on current issues in Mexico: available at Vancouver Media Co-op.
In 2009 supporters responded to an appeal from Women in Struggle for school supplies for children in Pakistan whose families had lost everything in sectarian violence. We were able to fund the essentials for 310 children in 2 villages. BBCF helped host and organize a public meeting for Malalai Joya, an Afghan MP (expelled from her place because she dared to criticize the Afghan government & NATO). A report on her presentation and review of her book are on bbcf.ca.
We organize and speak at events for Palestinian solidarity – and also host other speakers from Israel, USA and Canada. BBCF raises funds for Trees for Palestine and humanitarian aid for Gaza. We are part of the Pan-Canada Bil’in support network which raises awareness & funds the legal costs for Bil’in, a village in Palestine that has for 5 years resisted non–violently the building of the Wall though its lands. Bil’in has initiated legal action against 2 Canadian companies that are building Israeli colonies on stolen land.
BBCF has sponsored Victoria Women in Black for 16 years – a monthly silent vigil and every month a different leaflet is printed for hand out.
In December, 2009, BBBCF was one of the organizers of a Human Rights Forum in Victoria with presentations and displays on many issues, entertainment and food – Wolfwood presented on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the rights denied to Palestinians.
In 2008 we distributed and gave a public presentation of the video “A really inconvenient truth” at Café Simpatico, a local meeting place of the Victoria Central America Committee, another group supported by BBCF. Theresa Wolfwood and Gerd Weih travelled to Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine in 2008 in order to meet and listen to Palestinians. They also spoke at public meetings in Jordan and England. In Canada BBCF has organized events on Palestine and presented power point talks at meetings on Palestine. BBCF press published “An Ongoing Universe”, poetry by Theresa Wolfwood in the summer of 2008.
Because of the civil violence in Kenya, in 2008 we responded to an appeal from the Tasaru Ntomonok Initiative in Narok, Kenya and BBCF supporters contributed $1150 to send girls in danger of sexual violence to safe boarding schools. We also purchased children’s medications and medical supplies to send to the Maji Mazuri Centre in Nairobi.
Early in 2007 Gerd Weih & Theresa Wolfwood travelled to the World Social Forum in Kenya – BBCF organized a Women in Black workshop and BBCF helped to organize and fund the NO BASES NETWORK events in Nairobi & Ecuador. Our report on groups we met, help fund and continue to work with is on this site ” Africa: The World Social Forum & Beyond.” Before we left we raised over $1000 to give to groups we visited there, grassroots community–based groups we support, educate and empower mainly women and children. In 2009 BBCF co–sponsored events on Guatemala & Venezuela. We continue to organize Women in Black in Victoria – now in its 13th year of silent vigils and the White Poppy Campaign. We help Licadho Canada with website support, donations & support for President Lee Robinson, volunteering with human rights and empowerment activities at the grassroots in Cambodia with Licadho.
We are supporting and fund–raising of a tree planting project in Palestine – (See article on this website) – after meeting the director of Arab Group for the Protection of Nature at the WSF in Nairobi and learning about this worthwhile project. BBCF prepared a nomination for a Human Rights award for Wanjiku Kironyo of Maji Mazuri Centre in Nairobi.
BBCF organized a public event for the distinguished USA author, Joel Kovel, who spoke on his book, Overcoming Zionism, in the fall of 2007. We supported the public events in Victoria of Malalai Joya, a brave dissident MP from Afghanistan.
Gerd Weih & Theresa Wolfwood were invited to be election observers in Guatemala in 2007, on their return, they gave a number of public presentations.
During 2006, BBCF participated in the World Peace Forum in Vancouver – coordinating 2 workshops – one on boycotting for peace & justice and another on Women in Black. BBCF funded a boycott organizer from Belgium to later come to Victoria and give a workshop on boycotts. BBCF helps produce and fund a community newspaper in Victoria, “OUR PAPER” as well as other independent media, radio and a Women’s calendar with information about Women in Black and local social justice initiatives. In 2006 we also sponsored and participated in meetings on El Salvador, Chiapas and Burma. After returning from El Salvador as an international election observer, BBCF participated in meetings speaking about the elections & situation in El Salvador.
We researched the situation of the Bushmen in Botswana and an article on this issue was published in “Third world Resurgence” in Malaysia. We also fund-raised for projects that empower women and young people in Uganda and Kenya. Board member Elizabeth Mayne published her first poetry book: A Passionate Continuity (see reviews) and board members Oona Padgham & Peter Nyers became the parents of one of the next generation of activists, Geza – he has already attended his first peace demonstration. Peter Nyers’ book on Refugees was published (see reviews.)
In the fall of 2005, BBCF donated funds to a number of alternative media and co–sponsored a film showing commemorating the Chileans who died and were tortured and exiled in the 1973 military coup. In October, Theresa spoke in global education centers and colleges in the UK and spoke on “Reclaiming the Commons” at a conference in Reading, England. She also participated in a peace conference in Belgium under the auspices of the Bertrand Russell Peace foundation. BBCF nominated Irene Fernandez for the Right Livelihood Award in 2005.
BBCF started 2005 with a number of projects. In February we organized a public forum on Social Movements and Political Reality. BBCF organized a video showing of 3 international films about WOMEN & WAR: WOMEN & PEACE as part of International Women´s Day week. BBCF continues to support the independent media in Canada through financial and written contributions –including Briarpatch, Our Paper, Peace News, Awakened Woman and Press for Conversion. We support fundraising for a school in Pakistan and we send financial contributions to grass roots groups in Kenya and Uganda working with HIV/AIDS. Over the years we have organized much support for the Maji Mazuri Centre in Nairobi.
We also continue to organize Women in Black in Victoria and for our first leaflet in 2005 we prepared a statement on the COKE boycott which is now active in our city and BBCF is involved on the committee. We sponsored young people who were doing Zapatista support work and came to tell us about life in Chiapas and the making of boots to sell. We sent funds to help the Asian tsunami victims to the Pesticide Action (PAN-AP) Network in Malaysia – knowing that the money would be used for needy peasants in several countries.
In 2004, BBCF went to India and Pakistan. Directors Gerd Weih and Theresa Wolfwood presented the paper, “The Security of the Commons is the Basis of Peace” at a peace conference in Jaipur. This paper was published in 2004 by Science for Peace in Toronto. We funded Betty Kituyi of Uganda to attend this meeting and she also presented a paper – both are under Articles on this site. We went on to the World Social Forum where BBCF organized a panel on “Women and the Security of the Commons” with speakers from Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas – the transcription is also on this site. We helped fund the travel of Abha Bhaiya, one of founders of Jagori, a New Delhi based feminist collective in order to participate in the panel. Theresa also took part in a forum on Women and threats to cultural diversity and biodiversity. The book “Challenging Empires” was launched at the WSF with a party and a panel – the book about the WSF process contains a report by Theresa. We were also involved in an Art for Iraq exhibit with photos, poems and banners on display. All except the banner were donated to a university in Poonah.
A group of artists gathered in an Art for Peace workshop and the result was the CD: ART & RESISTANCE with banners on cover by Theresa and a poem by her. Later we visited projects in India and Pakistan, helping poor women, and contributed to various groups. We “met” many of the goats we had helped raise funds to buy and met their owners. We still collect to buy goats, but Women in Struggle has asked us to raise funds for a school in a village where there is none and children work in factories and rug making workshops.
Back in Canada we gave a number of fund raising presentations on the WSF and re–immersed ourselves in local work. Meanwhile directors Oona Padgham and Peter Nyers have been involved in front line action and research into the present status of immigrants and refugees in Canada. Several articles by them are on the website; Peter’s book: RETHINKING REFUGEES: Beyond States of Emergency will be published in late 2005 by Routledge Books. Stacy Chappel who joined our board recently has been a community leader in the public campaign to stop Canada from participating in USA’s Ballistic Missile Project. She has also initiated human rights actions about the detainment of non–Canadians under the “Security Certificate” process. Elizabeth Mayne has been long involved with our on–going Women in Black vigil; she has also been organizing art shows in Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, designed to overcome the “stranger” concept in society.
BBCF in cooperation with PAN–AP in Malaysia funded Percy Schmeiser, a well–known Canadian farmer who has defied Monsanto, to go to Asia as part of a food security caravan and then came to Victoria to talk about food issues, particularly the power of corporations and the spread of GMO crops. His talk, co–sponsored with VIPRG, was well attended and received. We sponsored Nana-Fosu Randall of Ghana to speak publicly about women in Africa in war zones. We organized a public showing of a film about a small religious group in Canada and its history of persecution – the Doukhobors. We also co–sponsored an event for Chiapas solidarity with the organization, Building Bridges.
Women in Black receive much attention in November with our White Poppies campaign – which we distribute free to thousands every year. We were joined at this vigil by Rosita Escobar whom we hosted at an evening gathering to speak about the work of organizing sweat shop employees in Guatemala.
We received many donations, mainly from friends and supporters, and apart from website, printing and mailing expenses, we were able to help many of our speakers and other groups we are in solidarity with, in particular, the independent media in Canada. Since we were founded in 1996, BBCF has published reports of its activities in The Whole Circle, published and 200 copies distributed in 2002. It is now out of print. This website is a supplement to this printed publication and serves as a global form of communication. BBCF has, since its inception, organized and sponsored meetings, workshops, and conferences on issues ranging from local poverty to globalization. BBCF has produced and distributed stickers, postcards, leaflets etc. on many issues in the past six years.
In 2003 – just a few brief highlights – we continue with Women in Black in Victoria. In May, Theresa spoke at conferences in Cologne Germany and in Austria on GATS and privatization. In September she spoke to several groups on that subject in Victoria. Oona Padgham organized: Negotiations for Peace – a multi–media event in Toronto with artists from Palestine, Israel, Canada and USA.
2002 – a few highlights – we went to the World Social Forum in Brazil and write and spoke extensively about it on our return. BBCF organized a workshop on Resistance is Creative at the WSF. Later BBCF organized a small world social forum in Victoria with many international and local speakers – including Walden Bello and Felicity Arbuthnot. In June, a number of BBCF activists attended the G8/G6B events in Calgary and Theresa spoke at the rally there. We sponsored a talk by George Galloway MP from Glasgow who spoke powerfully on Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.
In September, 2001, BBCF co–sponsored a major peace conference in Victoria, “Resisting Global Militarism” We organized the first evening of the event with keynote speaker, Bill Phipps, the Past–Moderator of the United Church of Canada, who spoke on “The Moral Economy and the Global Commons”. Terry Wolfwood spoke at the Saturday morning session of the conference. BBCF provided food for the delegates and banners made in BBCF workshops decorated the main hall. BBCF also had a sale table of independent publications from around the world. Videos of the conference are available. In January, 2001, Wolfwood went to Iraq on a Sanctions Challenge Delegation. BBCF raised $3000 for medicine to take to Iraq. Since that time BBCF has sponsored meeting and publications on Iraq and help set up a local group, Victoria–Iraq Solidarity Organization that focuses on ending sanctions against Iraq. Theresa Wolfwood has given many talk–slides shows on Iraq across Western Canada, Germany and Czech Republic.
BBCF was also a sponsor of the Vigil and meeting for Non–violence held in Ottawa on Oct. 6, 2001. Terry Wolfwood was a speaker at the event. BBCF was part of the Victoria Anti–War Coalition to oppose the war on Kosovo. In Victoria BBCF was actively involved in the production of two musical comedies performed in Victoria. Written and directed by Stacy Chappel, the plays were about the MAI, in 1998 and, in 2000, Genetically Modified Organisms. The later, SPLICE OF LIFE is available on Video. After NATO decided in 2000, not to meet in Victoria in 2001, a celebration and mini–musical were organized by VIPIRG with assistance from BBCF.
That happened after the WTO meeting in Seattle which many of us attended and spoke at various events there. It probably frightened the powers that be to think that Victoria might organize a similar event.
In 1997, Theresa and Gerd were human rights observers in Mexico in a Zapatista village – learning firsthand about the dangers of globalization/militarization.
In 1996, the year BBCF was formed; BBCF produced a video on the Beijing women”s Forum and the WILPF peace train, entitled, “Weaving the World Together”. We were part of a major coalition to oppose the Multi–Lateral Agreement on Investment (we succeeded in scuttling it) in Victoria and Wolfwood traveled to UK and Germany to speak about the dangers of the MAI.
BBCF has organized workshops on Art and Activism, featuring poetry, banner making and hat making. See photos of banners and article on Art and Activism by following links to TAP network. We are active in peace work in Victoria and elsewhere since September 2001 and continue to oppose the “War on Terrorism” emphasizing that justice through recognized channels is the appropriate response, not bombing the poor and starving people of another country.
These are a few highlights of our work over the last years and not intended to be a complete record. Papers, reports, articles, artwork and photographs by board members and BBCF friends are posted regularly on this website.