Wednesday, September 19, 2007

No More Deaths hero donates award money to Chiapas

After facing prison to provide emergency care for migrants dying in the desert,
Shanti Sellz donates human rights award money to Chiapas community

Dear Friends and Colleagues of No More Deaths,

I hope this letter finds you in good health as the fight for justice
continues in the borderlands.
As many of you know, this spring NMD, along with Daniel Strauss and I,
were honored by the Rothko Chapel with the Oscar Romero Award for
Human Rights. This award included a cash donation of $20,000, $5,000
of which went directly to me.
Through our ever-important work on the border, we understand that many
of the problems people face do not begin once they reach that line (or
wall) in the sand. Many are forced to leave their homes, families and
communities in order to provide for the basic needs of their loved
ones. We also understand that free trade and other U.S. backed
policies are directly responsible for the destruction of the
livelihoods of many people.
I am donating the money that has been given to me to the municipality
of San Juan Apostol Cancuc in Chiapas, Mexico. This community has
done incredible work in the past 20 years in the areas of education
and health. There are 20 schools and 2 health clinic within the
municipality. Some of the projects include organic agricultural
production of coffee, corn and beans.
The communities have been much affected by the drop in the price of
coffee and corn, yet their efforts to create and carry out a more
"rounded" or integral development has meant that men and women,
adolescents and children participate. As a result, this municipality
is characterized by having some of the lowest rates of migration.
The community plans to use the money donated to help build a communal
building with offices for the people's municipal government as well as
space for decision making and training. I have been working with
Miguel Pickard of CIEPAC in San Cristóbal, who has helped to connect
me with this community and work out the logistics of the donation. At
the request of the community and CIEPAC, I will be traveling in
October to Chiapas, along with No More Deaths volunteer Laura Ilardo,
to meet this community and deliver the funds in person.
I am writing this letter to ask for donations to help fund this trip.
Any money raised above the basic costs of travel will also be donated
to the community. Although it is only a short five weeks before we
plan to leave, any amount that you can share will help greatly in
making this delegation happen. Please call Shanti at 520-396-3353 or
Laura at 602-818-5447 if you are able to donate. You can also send
checks or money orders to: No More Deaths, P.O. Box 33173 Phoenix,
AZ 85067. Make checks payable to "No More Deaths" and please specify
"Chiapas delegation" in the memo.
Thank you for your kind consideration. Feel free to contact me with
any other questions or concerns.
In Solidarity,
Shanti Sellz

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008:
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