ALBANY -- One of the leaders of a Brazilian workers movement will be at the Gill Tract on Aug. 10 for a discussion about social movements and agrarian reform. After the discussion, the group will make murals together to decorate the community vegetable garden planting site.

Ana Manuela Cha has been a member of the national leadership of the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurals Sem Terra in Portuguese, or MST) for the past decade. She is touring the United States and meeting with U.S.-based social movements to discuss ways to build and strengthen them.

The event will begin at 1 p.m. at the Gill Tract Farm at San Pablo and Marin avenues. The discussion is scheduled to last two hours, followed by two hours of mural-making led by artists Bobby Fuentes and Hannah Hoffman.

Cha is the head of the MST's "Culture Sector." According to a news release put out by activist group Occupy the Farm, Cha "will address the issue of culture in social movements, explaining how the MST has been able to integrate culture, art and performance as one of the fundamental building blocks of their movement for agrarian reform and the redistribution of land in the Brazilian countryside."

The MST grew out of a movement to occupy large landed estates in Brazil. According to its website, the movement has occupied more than 2,500 parcels of land, which led to 370,000 families being able to settle 7.5 million hectares of land. An additional 150,000 families are occupying 900 parcels of land.


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The Gill Tract property has been the subject of recent controversy in Albany. Occupy the Farm has broken into the land multiple times and planted crops, arguing that its one of the last pieces of farmland left in the East Bay.

The University of California, which owns the land, uses it for research through its College of Natural Resources. An adjacent piece of land, also owned by the university, is slated for a retail/residential development that was approved over the objections of protesters, including some who claimed it would lead to the development of the farmland.

For more details on the Aug. 10 event visit fb.me/6VlUdCqzk.

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