Receive my warm regards from San Francisco, California. Even in this beautiful city, the effects of Trump’s uprising are being deeply felt. Fear and confusion are widespread. Every day we wake up to learn about a new threat to women and human rights, to our environment, or to overall peace and security. We go on with our days after learning of mass deportations, travel bans and limitations, and increasing acts of racial, ethnic, and gender based violence.
However, in the midst of all this pain, there are increasing displays of resistance and solidarity. Marches and demonstrations are growing in frequency and size, and people from every walk of life are standing up for themselves and for each other. From courageous students, activists, and artists, to donors and even some global leaders. If we observe carefully, the acts of disobedience and love are more widespread than those inspired by hatred and fear.
Of course, we cannot minimize the difficulties that lie ahead. The effects of this administration are just starting to be felt, but we know what decreasing regulation for international corporations, reinstating the global gag rule, or denying climate change means for the world, especially for the most marginalized. And among them, for women and girls. Increased injustice and violence—of all types and in all spaces—are just some of the devastating consequences we will have to deal with.
But it is precisely in these moments that massive change has come to happen—and will come to happen. It is in crossroads like this that humanity is reminded of the need to organize and to join those who, like you and our global sisters, never take anything for granted. Many of you have faced contexts where state condoned violence has been the rule for decades. And you have held your ground, and have found ways to not only resist but to even advance fundamental rights for women.
The world has much to learn from you at this time. There is much to learn from each other, from one context to the next. Let us make this challenging time an opportunity to strengthen our bonds, to support and take care of each other, and to dare to be bold together.
In November this year, the Encuentro Feminista of Latin America will take place in Uruguay. The Encuentro is one of those very unique opportunities for such connection. It has been holding its ground for over two decades without being owned by any particular organization, donor, corporation or government. It has remained autonomous against all odds and it is an oasis in such agitated times. It will be a great space to reflect and recharge. We will make sure to share the learnings and outcomes of this important event to foster cross-regional and cross-movement exchange.
To end this letter, I would like to quote Valarie Kaur, the young lawyer and activist that took the Internet by storm with her beautiful speech after the U.S. election: “What if the darkness we are seeing right now is not the darkness of the tomb, but rather, the darkness of the womb?” Then she ends with what seems like very good advice for all of us in such moments: “As the midwife tells us: Push and breathe!!”
Wishing you strength, courage, and, above all, generous and loving self-care,
Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights