I, Activist.

Last month, I spent a few weeks in Belize, doing all sorts of things. Randomly on one of the last days, I was introduced to the concept of an Earth Ship. It’s nothing to do with aliens but rather a home that is completely created from recycled materials, self-sufficient, and totally off grid. And across one of the walls was this quote from Rigoberta Menchu:

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BrownEyedJude and I have discussed Ms. Menchu a few times because she’s the classic definition of a woman who felt compelled to stand up against injustice. You might have seen her book, My Name is Rigoberta Menchú, on pretty much every lists of social justice books.  (Book Nerd Alert: The book is often mistakenly filed under memoir/autobiography but was actually created around a series of interviews done by a Venezuelan author. She had only been speaking Spanish for 3 years by the time she had the interview. I doubt she used Duolingo to learn it.)

Rigoberta grew up in a activist family, with her father being a member of one of the guerrilla groups in Guatemala, but she used her own voice to resist the oppression of the Guatemalan government and to bring to the international community the reality of the civil war in her country. She amplified the voices of the Maya Indian community in Latin America and she was run out of her own country. She still finds it difficult to return due to the frequent death threats.

She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 and is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. I’m not sure what an UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador has to do but it seems pretty cool. She elevated her Nobel Prize experience and formed the Nobel Women’s Initiative with the other five female Peace Prize winners. The idea behind the Initiative is to support women’s groups around the world in promoting peace and justice.

My “favorite” [insert sarcasm font] part of her story is the mansplaining that a historian tried to do on her book. He went back and interviewed many of her friends and family and tried to prove that everything she said was false and tried to get the Nobel Prize people to take back the prize. Rude. Years later, he said in ONE interview that she was actually pretty accurate in the book but he refused to change his book or apologize. Dude. Not Cool.

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