JASS Blog Archives for July 2009

by Ana Luisa Ahern on July 16, 2009 on 10:29 am

JASS and our Mesoamerican allies Las Petateras express our solidarity with all the feminist organizations and social movements of Honduras in condemning and repudiating the coup against democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. The coup, led by the armed forces and the president of Congress, Roberto Micheletti, with the support of the elite-owned and controlled media, occurred in the early hours of June 28th, 2009.

Feminist Radio Stations Taken Off Air

Shortly after the coup, feminist radio stations broadcasting live from Honduras were forcibly removed from the air and replaced with religions programming, according to the Centro de Derechos de Mujeres (CDM). The interrupted program, “Time to Talk,” in partnership with Feminist International Radio Endeavor, was broadcasting the voices, solidarity, and support of women attending a regional feminist leadership school in Panama. The joint program was initiated the day after the coup, in order to give voice to feminist activists through interviews and discussions.

Feminist Protesters Repressed

Various feminist organizations and women's groups protested on July 14th in front of the INAM, the Honduran National Institute for Women, opposing the appointment of a new director, fundamentalist Maria Martha Diaz, by coup leader Roberto Micheletti. Their peaceful demonstrations were interrupted by violent opposition from heavily armed riot police. An officer of the squad is said to have threatened the group of mostly women by loading a grenade launcher and keeping his finger on the trigger while pointing it towards the crowd. The women did not back down in the face of this intimidation, and held their ground.

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by Ana Luisa Ahern on July 15, 2009 on 3:02 pm

Petateras Mar de Cambios

Last week during the Sea Change Feminist Leadership School, participants created a mural of their “feminist ancestors,” women who have influences their lives as feminists and as women who cross the line. Many people brought in pictures and stories of famous feminists in history like Josefa Toledo de Aguierri, Clara Gonzalez, Rosa Parks, Anais Nin, Rosario Lara, Alice Millat, Virginia Woolf, Simon de Beauvoir, Frida Kahlo, Julieta Kirkwood, Babe Zaharias, among others. But the most moving contributions were direct ancestors, mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers, whose examples of strength and love have inspired a generation of activist women. One grandmother was the first woman to graduate from the university with a law degree in Guatemala. Another’s quiet strength in the face of domestic violence, and yet another's rebellious defiance of the norms of patriarchal society, shaped the lives these women have led. For many, this was the first time they had recognized these women who have had such a profound effect on their lives. I wanted to take this opportunity to recognize my own ancestors, the women in my life who have taught me about social justice, compassion, strength, and activism.


My mother, my inspiration, my role model, whose example of quiet strength, calm and unassuming leadership, unconditional love of all people, and courage in the face of daunting adversity have directed me to choose the paths my life has taken.

ana ahern ancestor presentation

My aunt Ann Louise Kerndt, whose name I was given, and whose story left in me, at a very young age, an understanding of the incredible injustice that exists in this world, and how it especially affects women. She gave her life in the battle to make things right, to level the playing field, to empower people to stand up for themselves in the fight for equality and justice. To these women and to all of our "ancestras," thank you.

View the Mural of Ancestors.

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by Valerie Miller on July 11, 2009 on 5:36 pm

Here we are in Panama -- 33 women from Mexico, Central America and the US sharing and deepening our understanding of power and patriarchy with all the passion and creativity that our collective energy and experience generate! Our location -- right beside the Panama Canal – adds an historic and political element to our workshop. For almost an entire century, the canal represented the imperial power of the US in Latin America. The long struggle of the Panamanians to gain control of the Canal was finally achieved in 1999. Staying at a hotel inside what was just ten years ago the US Canal Zone offers multiple lessons in perseverance and power. Unfortunately Panamanian and other elites have taken over the new resource for their own narrow interests, enriching the few at the expense of the many.

As we discuss and debate inside our conference rooms, outside our windows we can see the traffic that passes through this historic waterway -- cargo ships, sailboats, fishing trawlers, ocean liners – all shapes and sizes. Inside, we too come in all shapes and sizes! Our reflections and learning have been grounded in a variety of artistic expressions – from the play, Labyrinth of the Butterfly, that highlights the lives and struggles of women around the world to personal histories of each participant that illuminate the role that patriarchy has played in our own development; from the creation of a quilt of women who have inspired us in our own struggles – including mothers, mentors, poets, professors -- to sociodramas that portray the dynamics of power in different realms of women’s lives. Throughout this week, we have strengthened our minds, renewed our spirits, tapped our feelings and re-energized our bodies. It was ‘maravillosa’ and ‘magnifica’ – an ‘inspiracion’ for all of us.

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