Last weekend had the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó abuzz with excitement in celebration of their 18th anniversary, which celebrates the struggles of the Peace Community in sustaining an island of peace in the midst of conflict. This event also coincided with the Universidad Campesino, which brought together various communities from Colombia to share knowledge and expertise on topics ranging from making breads, marmalades, and chocolates, to legal education and educational methodologies.
This year, the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó had the pleasure to host the French and the German Embassies for two days with the Community and partook in a tour of the casco urbano of San Jose de Apartadó. It was here that on March 23rd 1997, a formal declaration of the Peace Community was made, but also marks the inception of its violent beginnings in 1996 when families from the surrounding veredas were forced to displace to the casco urbano as a result of threats from paramilitaries.
The Anniversary activities included a mass that was held in remembrance of the members of the Community who have died throughout their 18-year struggle. There were also discussions on the ongoing judicial processes that affect the Community. All in all, it was a time to rejoice, and the anniversary ended with a fiesta de baile that had the entire community celebrating how far they have come.