The Fellowship of Reconciliation Peace Presence (FOR Peace Presence) is an organization dedicated to providing safety, political visibility and solidarity to communities and individuals in Colombia who are working to promote human rights, peace and justice. We have had a permanent presence in the peace community of San José de Apartadó since 2002, initially with a field team of two, then three members. In 2005, we established a team in Bogotá to provide support for the San José team, carry out the political work with government officials and the diplomatic core and accompany and support other Colombian partners. We also carry out advocacy in the US, host delegations, organize speaking tours and publish a variety of resources to help folks understand better what is going on in Colombia and how the issues here are connected to issues elsewhere. We currently have a team of five, an accountant and one full time staff person and we continue to receive financial and staff support from FORUSA, the organization we have been part of for the last 11 years. Although we have been doing this work since 2002 as a program of FORUSA, we are now in the process of venturing out on our own as an independent organization. We are excited to carry on this important work in Colombia and explore new paths forward as well!
The meaning of words like perseverance, humility, and accompaniment sunk in deeply during my months with the families of San José de Apartadó, as together we earnestly and imperfectly sought to protect one another. I remember San José as a place of sudden sadnesses and sudden beauties. Of an orphan’s horse that we named together “Relampago” [Lightning], of an adopted grandfather named Ramon, and a beloved godchild named Ander. Of harvesting rice in a curving line of dozens of hard-working friends. Of sugar cane and baby bananas. Of singing ridiculous, joyful songs to not-quite-tuned guitars. Of long, frustrating meetings with officials who had never made the hike up the mountain to see with their own eyes, to hear the stories from the mouths of those who lived them. Of the plaintive sound of a crying infant, atop the muffled drone of the helicopters in the distance. The people of San Jose de Apartado were and remain a beacon to a cast of pilgrims, from so many corners of our fragile planet, who want to join them to make things better– pilgrims who assemble there to try. I’m so grateful to have been one of them. – Chris Moore-Backman, FOR Team Member 2002
FOR Peace Presence provides physical safety, political visibility and solidarity by accompanying communities and organizations that embrace active nonviolence to defend life, land and dignity.