Pastors for Peace and the
Religious Response to Social
Lucius Walker, Jr. is the
executive director of the
Interreligious Foundation for
Community Organization (IFCO).
He also served as Associate
General Secretary of the
National Council of Churches of
Christ from 1973 through 1978.
In January 1979, he returned to
IFCO, which has the distinction
of being the only national
ecumenical foundation committed
exclusively to the support of
Through IFCO, Rev. Walker has
used his leadership and
organizational skills to provide
a national vehicle to serve and
empower those who suffer the
pain of civil rights and human
rights violations. Under Rev.
Walker's leadership, IFCO has
played a major role in
supporting the fight against
colonialism and apartheid in the
nations of Africa,
self-determination for Puerto
Rico, and aid and justice for
In the United States, IFCO has
been involved in programs to
assist the poor and people of
color in the fields of
education, employment, economic
development, health care, voter
registration and education,
grand jury abuse, sterilization
abuse, farmworker rights, and
Native American rights.
IFCO has been a prophetic voice
in some of the most crucial
justice issues of the past 36
years. IFCO played a key role in
initiating church support for
Haitian refugees during the
1970s. IFCO founded the
Ecumenical Minority Bail Bond
Fund to provide support for
political prisoners of color and
initiated the National Anti-Klan
Network (now known as the Center
for Democratic Renewal).
In 1984, Rev. Walker was called
to be the founding pastor of a
Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY
which is dedicated to preaching
the social gospel and
ministering to the spiritual and
social needs of the community.
In 1988, Rev. Walker was shot
and wounded in a terrorist
attack on innocent civilians by
Nicaraguan contras as he led an
IFCO study delegation to
Nicaragua's Atlantic Coast
region. In response to the
attack, Rev. Walker conceived
the project Pastors for Peace,
which organizes humanitarian aid
caravans as a way to assist the
victims of US foreign policy.
IFCO/Pastors for Peace has
delivered caravans of aid to
Nicaragua, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Chiapas, and Cuba.
The Cuba caravans, known as
Friendshipments, have served as
a powerful challenge to the
immorality and illegality of the
U.S. government's economic
blockade and travel ban of Cuba.
The IFCO/ Pastors for Peace
caravans have delivered over
2,000 tons of aid to Cuba.
In January, 1996, Rev. Walker
was arrested by the U.S.
authorities because he dared to
take computers to hospitals in
Cuba. When the computers were
seized, Rev. Walker and four
others engaged in a "Fast for
Life" until the computers were
released. The fast lasted 94
days and resulted in the release
of the computers which were
delivered to Cuba in September
of that same year.
Walker is the recipient of
numerous honorary degrees and
peace awards including the
Gandhi Peace Award and the
Thomas Merton Award.
WONDER WHY GEORGE W. DOESN'T WANT YOU TO
KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT THE CUBAN PEOPLE?
Find out this July! Come with us to meet:
A healthy people, with
free health care, who live on average to age
77 – the same as the same as those in the
U.S. – yet some die prematurely and many
others suffer unnecessary pain because the
blockade denies them access to much of the
world’s medicines and medical equipment.
A cultured people who
receive free education at all levels and
have produced many outstanding scientists,
artists, musicians, scholars and sports
stars. Yet they cannot get access to many
basic supplies, because of a 47 year long
economic blockade by the U.S. government.
A proud and humane people
who share what they have. Cuba has sent tens
of thousands of their doctors around the
world to provide free health care to others
in need, yet when 1600 Cuban doctors were
ready to fly to New Orleans to help out
after Hurricane Katrina, the Bush
administration wouldn’t let them in – just
like it tries to stop US citizens from
Watch this 8 minute audio slide show from the
2006 Cuba caravan and find out!
February 23 2008: Medical School Conference,
San Jose, California
More than 100 US students are studying to
become doctors in Cuba at the Latin American
School of Medicine in Havana, Cuba. Come learn
about the school’s course of study, eligibility
and how to apply, and meet recent graduates from
the US and hear first hand reports.
Eight US students have graduated from the
Latin American School of Medicine after
completing a six-year study program on full
The eight US graduates
from the 2007 class of the Latin American
School of Medicine in Havana, Cuba.
Photo by Arnold Trujillo.
"We get everything from books, even uniforms.
But the conditions are that we go back to our
communities, wherever we're needed, and we
provide healthcare and that's what we really
want to do, so we're actually looking forward to
it," said Evelyn Erickson, a graduate from New
Nearly 100 US students are currently
receiving training at the Latin American Medical
School in Havana.
The U.S. students praised Cuba's universal,
free health-care system, which is community
based and focuses on preventing illness before
it becomes more serious and costly, in contrast
to the U.S. health industry indicted for being
profit-based in Michael Moore's recent film "SiCKO."
"We have studied medicine with a humanitarian
approach," said Kenya Bingham, 29, of Alameda,
California. "Health care is not seen as a
business in Cuba. When you are sick, they are
not going to try to charge you or turn you away
if you don't have insurance," she said.
The main difference in studying in Cuba was
that there was no charge and the graduates can
begin their practice debt-free, said Jose De
Leon, 27, from Oakland. "When medical doctors
graduate in the United States they are usually
in debt, between $250,000 to $500,000, and spend
the first 10 years of their careers paying it
off," he said
This year's caravan to Cuba featured the
first ever Pastors for Peace Hiphop Without
Borders Exchange. Travel with us to hear some of
the world's finest hiphop, participate in hiphop
workshops and perform with Cuban hiphop artists.
Download flier >
Second Emergency Aid Caravan for Louisiana
The second IFCO/Pastors for Peace Emergency
Aid Caravan to the Gulf Coast has delivered
tools, generators, air compressors construction
materials, food and water to the 6th and 9th
wards in New Orleans, Algiers, Lake Charles LA,
and Jackson, Mississippi
AP coverage |
vote was the highest ever against the
blockade, with 182 nations voting to end the
Cuba blockade. Only the United States,
Israel, Palau and the Marshall Islands voted
Report of the US State Department commission which
seeks to overthrow the government of Cuba.
The 458 page document includes detailed
plans for US control of all sectors of life
Download whole document (4.4 Mb pdf) >
U.S. students are
studying medicine in Cuba. For free.
Press Release: Caravan
Successfully Returns to US After Visiting
The 17th Pastors for Peace Friendshipment
Caravan to Cuba crossed back into the United
States via Hidalgo, Texas on Monday morning
July 17 2006, after delivering 60 tons of
humanitarian aid to Cuba