The Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project held a Gathering of Women Defenders from February 24-27 in La Vega, a town about 60 kilometers north of Bogota.
PBI-Colombia tells the story of that gathering in their article Care is Protecting Life: A Gathering of Women Defenders.
These are some of the quotes from that article.
“Oil is the blood of the land and unfortunately they exploit the natural resources surrounding the peasantry. That is why I was displaced and this is what identifies me. I was displaced five times and I continue to be in resistance.” – Ninfa Cruz, the Social Corporation for Community Advisory and Training Services (COSPACC)
“Sometimes we don’t even have time to look at ourselves in the mirror, between meetings, making arepas, taking care of the kids… but sometimes it is necessary to stop a moment and look and see oneself.” – Carolina Agón, the Regional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights (CREDHOS)
“They killed our loved ones and we must continue. Resistance is this homeland that pains us so much. And what unites us is love and the desire to continue forward amid all these situations.” – María Elena Vallejo, the Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE)
“I know that I can go far with a push. I am taking from this space the desire to continue fighting for truth and justice, for our disappeared loved ones.” – Jennyfer Caicedo, the Nydia Erika Bautista Foundation (FNEB)
“Normally we do the work of accompanying other women, the psycho-social work, and we carry a heavy burden. That is why this is so valuable. I am thankful to have care spaces for us.” – Lucy Martínez, the Humanitarian Action Corporation for Coexistence and Peace in Northeast Antioquia (CAHUCOPANA)
“I want all of us to continue as a beacon of light in each region, seeds despite the fear. With the constant conviction that we are on the right side of history. Because we are strong women who stand up to a criminal project.” – Alejandra Garzón, dhColombia
“I am a woman of fire, strong, and sharing with water women helps me advance. I understand self-protection as a demonstration of care, love, paying attention, of generating trust. Despite everything, what we seek is life.” – Annye Paez, the Peasant Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC)
The full article can also be read in Spanish at Cuidar es Proteger la Vida: Encuentro de Mujeres Defensoras.