In the mountains, South Eastern part of Mexico, December 2019.
In some forgotten mountain in the South East of Mexico there are some very well organized indigenous communities that started rebelling against the government almost 30 years ago. In their territory it is prohibited to consume alcohol and drugs, which has helped a lot in eradicating violence in the families. They have different production projects that sustains their economy and the women have a very important spot in this.
The 2nd gathering, 2019
In March 2018 the 1st gathering took place, and in December 2019 the 2nd gathering were around 4.000 women from all over the world gathered together with the Zapatista women.
During 3 days we camped, ate, bathed, danced, laughed, hugged and cried in a beautiful place with the most amazing sunrises and sunsets. Just women, but from 49 countries and different states in Mexico.
Open mic. A lot of girls shared their pain and anger from having lived some kind of violence. For some it was the first time that they talked about their experiences, and it was liberating. Others chose to share their collective suffering and violence that they live in their territories: mining, drug trafficking, racism, deforestation, assasinations etc. We were all from different places, but we were surprised to see that a lot of the experiences wer similar.
Several Colombian women participated, including a group of indigenous women from the North of Cauca (close to Popayán where I live and work). They had come to announce the violence in their territory. It was nice to meet them in this space and I of course greeted with a huge hug.
We organized groups to talk through different topic, talk through different solutions to fight violence and share some proposals for the future. I participated in a couple, but especially one for teachers was very useful. We were teachers from different parts of the world that work with different subjects, but here we shared our experiences with our students. Of course I shared our work with the foundation and it was very well received.
We continued the talks from the days before, but also had some creative spaces.
Conclusion and what I take with me
Since I was little the words of the Zapatista community always filled me with hope. To close this event we promised to defend ourselves and every other woman who might need it. With a hug if that is needed or something more in other cases. That it is very sad that women have to come from so far to a small and hidden spot in Mexico to get our pain out and gather in our fight for making this planet a safer place for women.
I stick with my part: To defend myself and whoever might need it, hug and listen to the girls who need it and continue to work for the teenagers.
-Nori, our teacher and representative in Popayán, Colombia