2011 Latin America Workshops

Whether they are presidents, mothers, community leaders or artists, women play a central role in social and economic change in Latin America, even as they regularly face discrimination and violence. In a region known for its “machismo,” many of the real stories behind ongoing social movements feature women leaders who have organized their communities to defend their rights. Come listen to extraordinary women from Colombia, Honduras, and Guatemala who have dedicated themselves to building peace and campaigning for justice. Learn about the insecurity women face in post-earthquake Haiti and the gender-based violence that migrant women and girls experience while traveling through Mexico. And join us to find out what you can do to aid these brave women in their quest for justice!

Workshops Organizers: Vanessa Kritzer and Ben Leiter, Latin America Working Group

 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Latin America Plenary: Connecting Policy with People

Across Latin America women on the ground are bravely organizing their communities for justice and defending their rights. But they are not alone in their struggle; human rights advocates in the U.S. are hard at work as well. Join us for a discussion with some key advocates about what U.S. policy change we can make to support women in Latin America and how the new climate in Washington will affect our many campaigns for a just U.S.-Latin America policy. Guatemalan activist, Sandra Moran, will start us off with an inspiring artistic performance.

Speakers:

  • Sandra Moran, coordinator of the Women’s Sector, an alliance of 33 organizations across Guatemala
  • The LAWG Team

 

Migrant Women: Challenges–and Hope–at Each Step in their Journey

The thousands of migrants who cross through Mexico each year in the hopes of reaching the United States face alarming levels of abuse and dangers during their journeys.  In Mexico, migrants endure violence and abuse at the hands of corrupt officials and, increasingly, violent criminal organizations. If and when they do reach the U.S., they are pushed into crossing in isolated and treacherous stretches of the border, conditions that have contributed to thousands of migrant deaths. Women and girls who make this journey are particularly vulnerable to abuse. Come learn more about the challenges and realities that migrant women experience at each step in their journey from northern Guatemala to the U.S-Mexico border region–and the inspiring first-hand experiences of women who work to protect and promote their rights. Organized by Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Service and the Latin America Working Group

Speaker: Dee Smith, Maryknoll Sister and Project Coordinator for Project Life, a HIV education and hospice center on the Mexico-Guatemala border

 

Honduras: Women Organize for Justice

On June 28, 2009, the democratically-elected President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was taken from his home in the middle of the night and flown to Costa Rica by Honduran military forces.  Following these events, which many people in Honduras and the international community viewed as a coup, widespread human rights violations took place, which today remain in impunity. Women today continue to be victims of severe abuses targeted at women participating in peaceful protests or organizing in their communities—-but they are also a powerful force for resistance.  Come hear women unionists and activists talk about their efforts to organize for their rights.

Speakers:

  • Blanca Estela Dole Duran, coordinator for the Feminist Collective of University Women (COFEMUN);
  • Lupita Aguila Arteaga, STITCH,
  • Catalina Nieto, Witness for Peace.

 

Women Confronting Violence and Impunity in Guatemala

Guatemala is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a women. As rates of violence against women and femicide increase each year, the Guatemalan government has done little to protect women and to hold the perpetrators accountable for their crimes. Nevertheless, women’s movements in Guatemala have been some of the most powerful and effective in voicing their demand for justice, equality, and sustainable economic development. In this interactive workshop sponsored by the Guatemala Human Rights Commission, internationally-recognized activist Sandra Moran will discuss the causes of the extreme violence against women, as well as the challenges and successes of the women’s movement in fighting to achieve respect for human rights for all Guatemalans.

Speaker: Sandra Moran, coordinator of the Women’s Sector, an alliance of 33 organizations across Guatemala

Women Resisting Militarization through Faith Communities in Colombia

Local communities in Colombia continue to suffer the effects of growing militarization, forced displacement, and environmental degradation. In the last two years the United States started making plans to significantly increase its military footprint and the Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) spoke out in one voice against it. Join us to hear how we are resisting violence, militarization, and creating communities of peace built on the foundation of nonviolence. This panel will be co-led by clergywomen from Colombia and the United States who are working together in partnership through the innovative Accompaniment Program of the Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Speakers:

  • Rev. Adelaida Jimenez Cortes and Rev. Gloria Ulloa of the Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia;
  • Rev. Linda Eastwood and Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Presbyterian Peace Fellowship.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Our Bodies Are Still Trembling: Haitian Women Continue to Fight Against Rape

The catastrophic January 12, 2010 earthquake took the lives of some 200,000 people and left approximately 1.5 million Haitians homeless. Forced to live in over­crowded displacement camps without adequate lighting or security, women and girls have faced an epidemic of sexual violence. Haitian grassroots groups and their partners have been work­ing tire­lessly and at great personal risk to protect and empower women and girls. Come hear the stories of the work of these extraordinary women.

 

Building Solidarity to End Violence against Women Human Rights Defenders in Mesoamerica

Women human rights defenders, or defensoras, are often on the frontlines of movements and suffer threats, intimidation and even death in reprisal for their work. Defensoras are diverse—they are indigenous women fighting for land, feminist activists, and women who are fighting for justice for family members. In response to growing violence and risks, they are organizing on many levels to document what’s happening, build local-to-international connections and alliances, and engage with international institutions to create pressure on their governments to uphold their rights and ensure their safety.  This workshop will discuss the changing nature of the violence women activists face, the strategies they use, and the kind of solidarity they need to amplify their call for justice and peace.

Sponsors: