Violence

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—bringing together diverse agendas, from activism on climate change to indigenous people’s rights.
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We are so excited to announce that the Mesoamerican Women Human Rights Defenders Initiative—a collaborative effort between JASS Mesoamerica and five partners—received the 2014 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award on October 14th in Washington DC!
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With both the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and the Climate Summit underway at the UN, far more important than official declarations will be who is allowed to speak and to be heard. Whose voice matters in this clash of worldviews.
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This issue of Making Change Happen examines the threats, challenges, strategies and aspirations of indigenous and rural women within the greater JASS community. Why this focus? There is plenty of evidence to indicate that indigenous and rural women are facing increasing difficulties throughout the world.
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To our sisters in Gaza: We, the women of JASS in Mesoamerica, Southeast Asia, Southern Africa and the United States, extend our hearts and our solidarity to our Palestinian sisters in Gaza. We strongly condemn the attacks by the state of Israel on communities in Gaza under "Operation Protective Edge" launched on July 7 and the subsequent land invasion. These actions violate the ceasefire agreement, and destroy lives and the chance for a just and lasting peace.
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“As a Cambodian woman, everyday is a constant negotiation for me. After endless discussions, I was able to convince my mother to give me a chance to get a higher education. It almost seemed impossible, but I was able to do it,” says Chamnorng Som, member of the JASS-inspired organization CYWEN.
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Katswe Sistahood's Winnet Shamuyarira describes how Zimbabwean activists rose up for justice in this year's global One Billion Rising Campaign: "That day, we the women of Zimbabwe said we were tired of being abused, tired of taking things lying down and that we have the power, the numbers, and the voice to act on issues that are affecting us"
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"We are united in our diversity by a common experience of repression,” explained Aura Lolita Chavez Ixcaquic at an unusual gathering between 30 women human rights defenders in Central America and Mexico and 40 donors committed to advancing social justice and human rights.
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In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, women activists and their organizations are at the forefront of organized efforts to help families meet their basic needs, regroup, and begin to recover. JASS Southeast Asia, together with its Filipina sisters and partners pooled their connections and resources to bring women together and lead the rebuilding process.
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Zambia's first lady surprised the international community when she spoke out on LGBTI rights. Many activists and JASS allies across the region are wondering, what’s next—will those in power begin to formulate concrete policies that will put these words into action, and make a difference in the lives of LGBTI people?
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