The community is invited to learn more about the indigenous people of Guatemala and the issues they are facing today when rece
nt Oberlin College graduate, Viviana Gentry, shares some of her experiences as a human rights accompanier in Northwest Guatemala. Gentry’s presentation takes place on Thursday, September 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Wilder 101 on the campus of Oberlin College. The event is hosted by the local non-profit, Santa Elena Project of Accompaniment (SEPA), and it is free and open to the public.
Gentry served as an international presence and measure of security in the departments of Huehuetenango and San Marcos, from October 2011 to May 2012. Her service offered many first-hand opportunities to gain insight into the complex issues and struggles evident throughout all layers of Guatemala’s present day culture. The accompanier experiences were powerful and life-changing. “It becomes clearer each time I speak about them that they have affected everything I will be doing in the future, Gentry remarked. “Being back in the US I can’t help but think how our consumption habits fuel many of the conflicts that I saw people struggling against in Guatemala.” The experience underscored the interconnectedness of our global society and how even simple changes in our lives at home can positively influence a better life for those across the planet.
Hailing from Chicago, while also calling Mexico City home, Gentry graduated from Oberlin College in 2011 with a degree in Environmental Studies. She worked at the George Jones Farm in Oberlin before committing to becoming an accompanier through the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA). For the past 30 years, NISGUA has been the primary organization linking people in the United States with the people and the struggles for justice in Guatemala. The non-profit organization maintains 5-10 human rights monitors in Guatemala at any one time, and is based in Oakland, California.