How do you unearth the many narratives of violence, repression, and displacement of families and communities that have never made it into Colombia’s official history? How do people who have experienced so much destruction and death even find the strength to tell these stories, relive this pain? And how do you make sure that these people, if they do speak out, are heard?
In Colombia, victims’ families, friends, and organizations have established galerías de la memoria, or memory galleries, where they can create and display sculptures, music, diagrams, quilts, posters, dance, paintings or anything else they feel best keeps the memory alive of those they have lost. For years, they have been displaying these beautiful tributes to the lives and deaths of their loved ones in the streets of big cities like Cali or Bogotá in an effort to wake people up to the ongoing reality of the conflict and the lack of justice for the crimes that have been committed by paramilitary, guerilla, and military forces alike.
Now in a project sponsored by our partner Lutheran World Relief, Remember Me: Voices of the Silenced in Colombia, one of these memory galleries is traveling around the United States. This gallery features the stories of individuals and communities in San Onofre, Sucre, and the province of Putumayo that have been scarred by violence fueled by Plan Colombia. They have brought it to a U.S. audience in the hopes that it will move people to help end the silence on Colombia’s conflict by asking their legislators to promote U.S. policies that support Colombia’s victims instead of investing in violence.
Do you live on the west coast? We have exciting news for you! This summer, LAWG will be collaborating with LWR to travel with Remember Me to communities on the west coast to display the exhibit and do trainings on the best strategies in advocacy for just U.S. policies towards Colombia. We want to start working with you to plan these events sooner than later, email Vanessa if you’re interested!
Remember Me, which launched in April 2010, is currently touring in the Midwest and is still looking for more communities visit there. So if you want to host, click here, it’s not too late! And no matter where you live, make sure to check out the website for Remember Me, where you can preview the art, learn the stories, and find out about actions you can take to stand in solidarity with the victims today.