For the last 5 years, NISGUA has been my workplace, my community, and my political home. In June, I'll be leaving my staff role after three and half years leading the organization's U.S. programs, grassroots fundraising, and operations. Being a part of this work has been deeply transformative, and I want to do my part to make sure the work continues beyond my time on staff. That's why I've personally committed to raising $1,500 to support NISGUA. Will you join me?
I first traveled to Guatemala as a Spanish language student in 2011. In those two months, my brief exposure to grassroots social movements lit a fire in me. I met ordinary people fighting for economic justice, struggling for public recognition and reparations for genocide, defending their land and communities against a gold mine, and more. I felt deep affinity with the visions guiding these struggles, and as I dug deep into the history of U.S. imperialism in Guatemala, I felt a particular responsibility to act. I returned to the U.S. longing to participate in this work, hoping for an appropriate role for a white queer from Pennsylvania like me. That's when I found NISGUA.
I returned to Guatemala with GAP in 2014, when I accompanied criminalized land defenders in Huehuetenango, Q'anjob'al territory. Since 2016, I've been anchoring our U.S. work as an administrative jack of all trades, a fundraiser, and the lead organizer of our grassroots delegations and speaking tours. I recently had the honor of organizing a week-long exchange between Indigenous undergraduate students from NMSU and Mayan land and water defenders in the Ixcán.
Money raised from this campaign will help NISGUA strengthen and expand its horizontal exchange work -- opening up more opportunities for movement leaders in the U.S. and Guatemala to share their stories and their strategies for resistance and resilience. It will also help us transition into a more politicized model and practice of accompaniment -- one that explicitly trains accompaniers as organizers during and after their time working alongside defenders of land and life in Guatema. This work will strengthen our movements. Let's make sure it's possible!