Summer 2016 Newsletter
We hope everyone is having a good summer regardless of the heat wave we have been experiencing.
Sue Simonson and Mari Kuroda are serving as co-chairs of the Board this year. We welcome Elizabeth Aldrich as a new Board member and welcome back the other members. Founding members John Gates and Barbara and Bill Fuchsman remain on the board and bring with them many years of SEPA knowledge. We are grateful.
Out biggest challenge is how to continue financing human rights accompaniers, scholarships, teachers' salaries and projects in Santa Elena and Copal AA, and a winter term delegation. As the needs of Santa Elena and Copal AA change due to their expansion of educational opportunities and community services, it has become increasingly difficult for SEPA to single-handedly meet their needs. We have had to cut back on certain projects this year in order to fully fund the school in Copal AA. However, full funding of the school will be impossible in the future. We have decided to seek help from other local, national, and international organizations for financial and logistical support. We are always looking for additional contacts in Guatemala or connections with organizations that work in Guatemala. Please contact us if you have knowledge of resources that might help.
Thank you for your continuous and generous support of human rights accompaniment and educational aid for these two villages in Guatemala.
Officers for 2016-2017 fiscal year
Co-Presidents: Mari Kuroda and Sue Simonson
Vice President: Kathy Spencer|
Secretary: Betsy Bruce
Treasurer: Bill Fuchsman
Members at Large: Elizabeth Aldrich, Barbara Fuchsman, John Gates, Lori Taylor
RECENT NEWS FROM GUATEMALA
In the face of death threats, a forensic anthropologist has
spent two decades exhuming the victims of a “dirty” civil
war. Now his work might help bring justice for their murders.
Read this New York Time article (6/30/16) by MAGGIE JONES by clinking on the title above.
and then this from NISGUA:
UPDATE: July 22, 2016
ALL 7 GUATEMALA POLITICAL PRISONERS HAVE BEEN ACQUITTED of almost all charges against them and the court has ordered their IMMEDIATE RELEASE!
After suffering excessive imprisonment due to abuse of pre-trial detention and stall tactics, with several prisoners spending as long as 17 months in jail, the joint trial against 7 defenders of life and territory has ended in FREEDOM FOR THE POLITICAL PRISONERS OF HUEHUETENANGO.
The judges highlighted the injustice committed against all 7, affirmed the legitimacy of ancestral authorities, and expressed outrage at the unjust criminalization of these leaders.
We are grateful to be part of an international network who have stayed the course with postcards, campaigns, protest and monitoring--our work will continue to ensure their prompt release and continue the fight against criminalization of defenders of the earth.
Rigoberto Ordonez, teacher and founder of the Copal AA middle and high school, is coming to Oberlin.
Stay tuned for a special event in September.
Help raise funds for SEPA every time you make a purchase from Amazonsmile. Just make Amazonsmile your default setting for Amazon shopping and be sure to select SEPA as the charity you wish to support.
Farmer's Market Time!
Each year SEPA raises over $11,000 selling Guatemalan Textiles and coffee as well as donated home baked bread and cookies and donated produce and pottery.
SEPA's booth is at the Oberlin Summer Farmer's Market
each week from 9am-1pm.
Fund Raising Success
This past February SEPA held its annual Guatemalan Dinner. Over 100 people enjoyed enchiladas, guacamole, salad and auctioned desserts. Thanks to Michael Reynolds for being the auctioneer and of course kudos to all the bakers. Seeing which dessert earns the largest donation has become quite competitive!
We added a scholarship "auction" this year as well. Attendees could purchase scholarships in $50-$500 amounts.
Well over $3500 was raised with ticket sales, dessert auction and scholarship auction.