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JASS Movements Newsletter

November 2014

Dear Friends,

On Wednesday our team in Mexico City joined 100,000 others in the streets to demand that the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa be returned alive, and that those responsible be held accountable. They marched with Nobel Laureate, Jody Williams, a close JASS ally who traveled there in solidarity to amplify the call to action.

Making the invisible, visible is a central part of JASS’ mission and the thread that ties together this newsletter. In bringing the hidden to light, we recast events from the perspective of justice and women. As Catalina Ruiz Navarro writes, this is not a problem of drug cartels running amuck or a “few bad apples” in government as we read in the news, “but one of systematic attacks on people who speak out to demand justice.”

Maggie Mapondera’s provocative blog gives voice to the simmering frustrations that many women’s rights advocates have with all the attention given to winning over men and boys. Though clearly gender equality and ending violence demands all of us, she asks why we have to spend our time and limited resources cajoling them when our feminist efforts are threadbare and women's own definition of justice is still invisible. 

And finally, Osang Langara shares the perspectives of indigenous women leaders in Southeast Asia on the frontlines of defending their territories against land grabs while building their own communities.

Once again, thanks to all for your efforts and support in shining the light on truth, justice and women's alternatives for a better world.

Onward and forward.

Lisa VeneKlasen & the JASS community

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Ayotzinapa: a tipping point in the Mexican Crisis

Ayotzinara - hay memoria

By Catalina Ruiz Navarro

Despite international pressure, public outrage and a digging effort that has unearthed 60 unidentified graves, the forty-three students who disappeared in Ayotzinapa, Mexico on September 26th are yet to be found. The students disappeared after police ambushed their caravan as they headed to a march to protest cuts in the education budget. Six people were killed and one was found dead nearby. The investigations have finally revealed to the outside world what Mexicans know well: the deep level of complicity between the government and organized crime. In response, JASS—led by our Mexico team—has joined many organizations in mobilizing a demand for the immediate location of the missing students. JASS is currently hosting Nobel Peace Laureate, Jody Williams who joined a global call to action and will meet with government officials in Mexico City this week. Read more

Indigenous Women Front & Center

By Osang Langara

In September, JASS Southeast Asia and JASS Mesoamerica converged in New York with a delegation of indigenous women leaders who have been part of our leadership schools and women human rights defenders strategies in both regions. Their convergence matched another—the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, the People’s Climate March and other events—bringing together agendas and activism on climate change, indigenous people’s rights, women’s rights and peace. The region-to-region exchange, networking, and meetings with high-level officials, environmental activists, donors, and other indigenous communities helped form new bonds between women, new networks between people and JASS’ emerging agenda on women’s resource rights. Read More

People's Climate March

Truth, Justice and the Feminist Way

Caution! Women Crossing the Line - JASS

By Maggie Hazvinei Mapondera

We talk about justice all the time, but what do we actually mean by it? How do we even begin to imagine what justice looks like? A lot of our struggles for justice take place at a high policy level: we go to the United Nations; we craft protocols on this, that and the other. These strategies are powerful and critical to our feminist movements. But they have their place, and in isolation, disconnected from movements to create alternatives, they aren’t going to take us where we need to go. In fact, unless women, those on the very frontlines of struggles for gender justice, are right at the table, crafting a different way to imagine a ‘just’ world, then nothing’s going to change. We can spend all day picketing on the streets; we can spend our nights praying on our knees for some god to make things better—but it won’t matter. Read more