Monday Carlos and I went to IUMUSAC and met with Pati. We looked over the student reviews of the previous week, discussed the schedule for next week, and while we were talking I suggested we use the Power and Control wheel. They liked my idea but I then had the assignment of drawing it on a poster board and explaining the wheel next week in front of everyone! Since it is pretty complex and there is a lot to say, I had the fun task of writing myself a script in English, translating it into Spanish, and drawing the huge thing, all of which I did on my weekend “off.” But back to Monday: after the meeting, Carlos and I had our own mini-meeting in a nearby café and discussed masculinity, men’s role in women’s groups, men’s emotional health, and possible future plans for Hombres Contra Feminicidio. We also discussed how queerness and gender binaries are inseparable issues and it was a refreshing change to talk to a like minded feminist about breaking the “boxes” and binaries of gender and sexual orientation.
As we walked to go our separate ways: me to meet Simón at the Edificio de Correos (the mail building where his office is located) and Carlos to go to another meeting, we happened upon an Indigenous Rights protest so we walked over to check it out.
It appeared to be organized by CONIC, Guatemala’s National Coordination of Indigenous Peoples and Campesinos, an organization which was established to promote sustainable livelihoods and community-led development for indigenous peoples across Guatemala.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to fight for Indigenous rights such as language inclusion (since there are about 24 Mayan languages in Guatemala) and access to resources such as water and education without also demanding justice for the Mayan genocide that took place during the civil war and the continued massacres, beatings, and terrorism of Indigenous communities. Being here in Guatemala is inspiring because there are so many fearless people who fight for rights they know they deserve, even though activism here is often rewarded with death threats, drive by’s, robberies, kidnappings, and murder. There is no way to look at just women’s rights, indigenous rights, the rights of the poor, etc. without seeing that all oppressions are intrinsically connected and all struggles are really one struggle. Here in Guatemala the oppression of Indigenous peoples is very obvious since the government, the media, and the middle and upper class people are made up of Ladinos, the generally lighter-skinned mixed race Mestizos, and in reality the population of Guatemala is about half Indigenous and half Ladino, even with the 200,000 Mayans who were massacred during the war.
Tomorrow begins my “huelga” in solidarity with the women whose babies were stolen, specifically three daughters of Guatemalan mothers who now live in the U.S. with adoptive parents. For more information on the issue of stolen babies please see this video. I am going to be giving up bread, one of my favorite things to eat, especially here where a lot of my favorite foods don’t exist, and Simon will be giving up his big food-vice: chocolate. Wish me luck!