On the final night of the “Women in Resistance” delegation, our leaders gathered us together in a coffee shop in Antigua’s parque central for a brainstorming session. We strategized and shared ideas about how we would raise awareness about Guatemala’s land and women’s rights issues while carrying all the voices we heard forward in international solidarity, once we returned to our individual lives in the United States.
Many of my fellow delegates used their unique talents to advocate for land and women’s rights issues in Guatemala in special ways. In Georgia, Courtney collected art supplies and raised funds to support Casa Artesana’s painting program for incarcerated women. In Wisconsin, Agnes shared her experiences with her church, continued to actively volunteer with Racine’s latino community, and collected Spanish children’s books for the Alliance of Rural Women, which I delivered to Guatemala in November, 2012. Alma, who has continued living in Guatemala, used her ties to Nevada, where gold mining company Kappes, Cassiday, and Associates is headquartered, to advocate against the destructive environmental and social effects the gold mining project would have on San Jose del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc. Recently, she create an opportunity for Don Alvaro from San Pedro Ayampuc to protest at Comstock Mining Inc.’s shareholder’s meeting in the United States.
I sought to be “the librarian” of the delegation, writing a record of each meeting as a way to honor the Guatemalans who were so kind to meet with us and share their stories, and also to inspire others to learn about land and women’s rights struggles in Guatemala. In the middle of transcribing the handwritten notes I took during the delegation into posts illustrated with beautiful photographs taken by Paola, Alma, and Courtney, I returned to Guatemala. I studied Spanish with a new teacher each week, and when asked six different times what brought me to Guatemala, I always explained the delegation. My teachers were intrigued, and many expressed a wish to participate in such a delegation as way of building international solidarity, and also learning more about on-the-ground issues in their own country.
When I returned to the United States in January 2013, I reflected on how meaningful participating in the delegation had been for me and that many Guatemalans may want to participate but lack the funds to do so. I decided to fundraise for a full scholarship so that a person with Guatemalan heritage who could not otherwise afford the delegation could participate in what was for me and my fellow delegates, a transformative experience. I solicited donations from friends and family, and sold Guatemalan textiles and jewelry that GHRC has stored in their office. It gave me so much positive energy to fundraise for this scholarship, and thanks to many generous donations and purchases, the scholarship was complete by the time that GHRC was accepting applications. I plan to fundraise for this scholarship annually, and look forward to applying what I learned to fundraise next year. In the meantime, I sincerely wish all the 2013 delegates the best, and I can’t wait to learn about their experience this coming August!
Learn More about GHRC’s Women in Resistance Delegation and the Scholarship
1. “Delegations to Guatemala. The Guatemala Human Rights Commission. http://www.ghrc-usa.org/get-involved/delegations/
2. “‘Women in Resistance’ Delegation Scholarship.” Causes. http://www.causes.com/actions/1734250-women-in-resistance-delegation-scholarship
3. Kramer, Ilyse. 2012 “Women in Resistance” Delegation an Event to Remember. El Quetzal. Issue 13, December 2012. http://www.ghrc-usa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/El-Quetzal-final-with-WN-note.pdf