This month our team was spread out far and wide, in three different regions of Colombia and even up north, in the U.S. Fortunately, we all came together for a retreat for four productive days in which we took time to evaluate our work over the last six months, plan ahead and finally welcome our new team member, Julia!
Apart from our retreat, we continued to provide permanent accompaniment to the Peace Community of San José, but also accompanied the Interchurch Justice and Peace Commission in the Humanitarian Space Puente Nayero in Buenaventura. While Julia and Gale Virginia accompanied Tierra Digna in the coastal region of Colombia, Kaya travelled with Johana from Tierra Digna to the US, to begin our Fall Speaking Tour.
Meanwhile, Mario Cardozo, conscientious objector and member of ACOOC continued his speaking tour in the US, from New York to Washington D.C., to be present during the Interamerican Commission of Human Rights hearings.
Every 6 months the whole Peace Presence team meets up for a retreat. The strategic plans developed in May were reevaluated and during this retreat, we focused on our accompaniment work on the ground and analyzed the changing context in Colombia, including recent threats made to human rights defenders and displacement due to development projects. Our new team member Julia Schutt arrived at the end of the retreat, so that she could meet up with her future team stationed in the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó.
Before going to the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, Julia did her first accompaniments with the Bogotá team. Just a few days after arriving, Julia traveled with Virginia to accompany Tierra Digna in Magdalena and Cesár, where mining has contaminated the air such that some communities have to relocate. At the same time, our colleague Kaya and Johana from Tierra Digna were in Washington D.C., taking part in the Interamerican Commision of Human Rights Hearings. Johana talked in the session on forced displacement caused by development projects.To support our ongoing accompaniment of Tierra Digna in their efforts to fight corporate supremacy in the upcoming year, we launched our first crowdfunding campaign on the 28th of October.
Our team in San José de Apartadó accepted a petition to visit with a Peace Community family in a village, a four hour hike from our home homebase. The farmers were harvesting rice and the Peace Community’s cattle had to be counted.
To learn more about what we did in October we invite you to read the five articles we posted on our homepage.
All this work is only possible with your help and support in so many ways. Sometimes we might ask you to take action, for example to write letters to members of Congress or sometimes we might ask you to distribute information, which we put on our facebook, homepage or twitter. We are eager to continue beside our partners in their courageous struggle for land, life, and dignity and therefore you can also make a donation to our crowdfunding campaign “Support Colombian Communities, Stop Corporate Coal”, which we launched in the end of October.