September 27, 2010

Are you ready for NYSUT's Child Labor Challenge?

Source: NYSUT News Wire
trick or treat card

Want to help end child labor? Participate in NYSUT’s Child Labor Challenge, a series of events occurring over the next few months that highlight the illegal use of child labor in chocolate production on the Ivory Coast and Ghana.

The NYSUT Child Labor Challenge encompasses three main initiatives: the annual Reverse Trick-or-Treating Campaign; participation in the Raise the Bar Hershey Campaign; and hosted viewings and discussions of the film “The Dark Side of Chocolate.”

“Chocolate should be a sweet treat for children, not a source of forced labor,” said NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer Lee Cutler. “I encourage you to get involved by filling out a pledge sheet and committing to take part in at least one of these activities. Together we can make a real difference in the lives of families and children trapped in this modern-day slave trade.”

Participants statewide will be acknowledged on Dec. 10, International Human Rights day. The day also will mark the release of “Speak Truth to Power,” a human rights curriculum aligned to New York state standards and developed by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights in partnership with NYSUT. Participants in the NYSUT Child Labor Challenge will have early access to the grade 6-12 lessons, each of which focuses on a human rights issue and a specific “defender.”

“And don’t forget — if you, your local, your chapter or your class participate in any of these activities, please let us know,” said Cutler.

Make the pledge

Please download the pledge form (PDF) , fill out the contact information requested and check off those activities that you and/or your group will participate in this year. To be eligible to participate in the December 10 recognition, you are expected to take on at least one of the challenges listed below. Return the pledge sheet by October 15 by mail to NYSUT, Attention: Sharon Ryan, 800 Troy Schenectady Road, Latham, New York 12110 or by fax at 518-213-6413. For questions, call Maureen at 518-213-6000 x 6294.

Let us know

Participants should send photos and a brief description no later than Nov. 17 to and post updates on the NYSUT United Facebook page at

Reverse Trick-or-Treating — starts Oct. 1

Reverse Trick or TreatingAs in past years, the Reverse Trick-or-Treating concept is simple: On Halloween night, after receiving a "treat," trick-or-treaters offer a gift in return — a small, fair-trade chocolate bar and a card promoting the use of fairly traded products. Visit Oct. 1-8 to request a reverse trick-or-treating kit, learn more about the program. New this year is a downloadable flier from that website to distribute without candy on Halloween.

Raise the Bar Hershey Campaign — now through Halloween

Put the pressure on Hershey to stop using child and forced labor by participating in the Raise the Bar Hershey Campaign. From now until Halloween distribute "Is Your Candy Scarier than Your Costume?” flyers to raise awareness of the danger of child labor in West Africa and encourage others to join the Raise the Bar Hershey campaign. Visit for fliers, or to learn more.

“The Dark Side of Chocolate” — now through Halloween and beyond

Underscore your efforts to raise awareness of child labor by hosting a screening of “The Dark Side of Chocolate,” a new documentary detailing the prevalence of child labor, trafficking and slavery in the cocoa fields. Email Anne Kelly at the New York State Labor-Religion Coalition at by Oct. 15 for a copy of the film and a companion toolkit. Screenings will take place nationwide during the National Week of Action, Oct. 23-31.