Thursday, June 20
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Owen Brown Community Center, 6800 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, MD
Hear the story of a courageous experiment in non-violence. Javier Sanchez,
representative of the Peace Community San José de Apartadó in
northern Colombia, will share this rural community¹s experience of resistance,
perseverance and hope in the midst of war in Colombia. Violence and war in Colombia
seem to be spiraling out of control, and the Bush administration proposes deeper
military involvement. But there are important peace initiatives that continue
to propose alternatives and work for peaceful solutions to the underlying causes
of Colombia's 38-year-old civil war. San Jose de Apartadó in the Urabá
region of northern Colombia is one of more than 50 Peace Communities that have
declared themselves neutral in the war, committing to nonviolently demand their
right to justice and peace. The community has suffered terribly from political
violence, mostly by paramilitary groups that are often supported by the Colombian
Army. At present the community is confronting an economic blockade imposed through
paramilitary killings of public transport drivers taking supplies to the community
or transporting the community's banana harvest. Javier Sanchez, 31, was born
in the hamlet of La Union, which is accessible only by foot and horseback and
serves as the agricultural center of the San Jose de Apartado Peace Community.
He is a member of the community's internal council, which governs the Peace
Community and meets with governmental officials to demand measures for its security.
"I have been with the process of the Peace Community since its beginning
and was one of the first to initiate the internal council," Sanchez said.
He sees his work in the areas of training, self-sustaining economy, and education
as a service for the well-being of the entire community. "I am very happy
to be in this community, motivating its members [to continue] and [developing]
our projects." Mr. Sanchez' speaking tour in the U.S. is sponsored by the
national Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), which has volunteers permanently
accompanying the Peace Community, serving as witnesses and human rights observers
in La Union.This presentation will be done in Spanish with English translation.
Questions and answers will follow. Refreshments. This event is open to the public
and it is free of charge. Co-sponsored by Howard County Friends of Latin America,
The Fellowship of Reconciliation and Amnesty International, Chapter 228. For
information call Leslie at 410-381-4899 or Peter at 410-740-1416.