Last Wednesday Claudia Torres, indigenous rights activist and coordinator of the Network Against Repression and for Solidarity, spoke with us about her experiences and struggles. For decades Claudia has coordinated solidarity efforts with the Zapatistas and worked to end gender violence in Chiapas. Claudia spoke about the forced disappearance, imprisonment, assassination, and sexual torture that organizers face, and the ways that indigenous, women’s, human rights, and student groups across Mexico are mobilizing.
Her talk was a powerful example of how much marginalized groups, especially indigenous communities, feel the impacts of a global economy focused on capitalism, not on human rights. Claudia, who spoke in Spanish throughout the talk, described how the Mexican government tried to force people off their lands. Physical violence, rape, and assassinations were all things that the government had sanctioned as a way to crack down on organizers and ignore their demands for justice and basic human rights. Her descriptions showed how important solidarity with organizers from around the world is, as well as how important the actions we take here at Brown and in the United States are. The injustices we are fighting here are tied to the same injustices that people in Mexico and other countries around the world sacrifice their lives to fight, and it was an honor to hear from someone so dedicated.
The event was sponsored by the Brown Immigrant Rights Coalition, Brown Students for Justice in Palestine, the Brown Student Labor Alliance, the Center for Environmental Studies, and the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.