Yesterday afternoon I flew into Guatemala City with Lucia Muñoz, founder and director of Mujeres Iniciando en las Americas (MIA), and this morning Lucia, myself, and Simon Pedroza, an amazing poet-friend and my co-facilitator for “Hombres Contra Feminicidio” (Men Against Feminicide) were off to meet with the women’s institute, Instituto Universitario de la Mujer (IUMUSAC) of the (only) public university in Guatemala, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala or USAC.
The university is in Zone 12 but the institute is all the way in zone 1 which is about an hour and a half away by bus. We spoke with Miriam Maldonado, the head of IUMUSAC, about the certificate program we are launching on Thursday at the college and then Lucia gave a short phone interview for the university radio station’s radio show “Voces de Mujeres” about the campaign. The program will be four 3-hour interactive workshops co-facilitated by an amazing activist/facilitator named Carlos Ibañez and Lucia while she is here and me when she flies back on August 29. The students who graduate the program will not only obtain a certificate, but can be recruited to work as facilitators for MIA. Since Lucia will only be here for two of the sessions, I will be keeping an eye out for students who seem like they are trustworthy, comprehend gender oppression, and demonstrate leadership abilities.
After meeting with IUMUSAC we ran all around and ended up at Centro de Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos or CALDH, a super cool human rights org that we were able to hook up with through Simon. (The above picture is a poster they gave us) We explained our program to them and expressed interest in facilitating for groups of young people and they suggested we go to a night school for kids who have to work in the day. This sounded amazing to us and we said we would love to. They said though they are a separate institution they would be happy to refer us. We were ecstatic and arranged to meet them the following evening.
– Marina Wood is a recent graduate of the Women’s Studies program at Cal State University Long Beach. She has been volunteering with MIA since 2007 and is interning in Guatemala as a facilitator for the “Hombres Contra Feminicidio” campaign for 10 weeks. Marina has been involved in the struggle to end oppressions since her first protest in 2002 against the Afghanistan War and plans to continue learning, educating, and fighting for human rights until the violence stops. The issues closest to her heart are sexual assault and femicide prevention and amnesty for migrant persons in the U.S.