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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.
Just a short note from Panama City about Mar de Cambios (July 5-10), where around 40 women from different MesoAmerican countries are discussing about feminism and how the patriarchal power affects ourselves and our society.
We are almost there, making shape out of the confusion, enduring the pain, but loving each other as sisters, as we build and undo and rebuild, and we start seeing the shape of our Southern African Movement.
As the 8 women in the planning meeting go to their rooms to retire for the night , I reflect on the day's proceedings. What have we achieved, what are we going to do, where are we going? These are the questions going through my mind. Looking back and reflecting on the conversation we had during the day of the different contexts of the region. The appointment of Jacob Zuma, the GNU in Zimbabwe, the creation of COZWHA+ in Zambia , recession in the USA and the impact of the OBAMA administration on the world.
It has been a long and intense day, emotionally draining - but in the spirit of strategizing for Southern Africa Women's Movement Building as JMBs, it was well worth it. The honesty that is not feasible in mainstream NGOs, the bonding across color, class, religion; and the "dinosaurs and chickens" working harmoniously together, arguing, disagreeing, building consensus... yes, we can! It could only happen in the middle of the most African city, where we can pretend we do not know about the monstrous traffic jams just a hundred meters away. Amandla!!
As I end the day, I would like to share my thoughts on the process on Planning for the Southern African Region.It has been an interesting process to be involved in, its shaping and defining Jass Southern africa as an organisation. It enables us to organise thoughts and plan for actions on movement building in the region through a process of reflection about what we've done as Jass southern africa in the past six moinths and where we going in the region.
JASS was thrilled to play a significant role in conceptualizing, planning, and facilitating the Nobel Women's Initiative's international conference entitled Women Redefining Democracy for Peace, Justice and Equality that was held in Antigua, Guatemala from May 10-12, 2009. More than 100 women from around the world, including four women Laureates, gathered to examine the challenges of democratization, and to reshape democracy through the lens of women's experiences.
The Nobel Women's Initiative, in partnership with JASS and the Rigoberta Menchú Tum Foundation, hosted "Women Redefining Democracy for Peace, Justice and Equality," May 10-12, 2009, in Antigua, Guatemala. Women from around the world examined the challenges of democratization and reshaping democracy.
JASS and our allies, accompanied by one of international human rights lawyers handling the Juarez femicide case, Rhonda Copeland, conducted a fact-finding mission, May 13-14, in Guatemala City. Several women’s and human rights organizations gave testimony, including CONAVIGUA, Moloj, Sector de Mujeres, and the Human Rights Commission.

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