by Tina Gianoulis -
Special to the SGN
This Saturday, Oct. 22, from 6 to 9 p.m., three Seattle activists will share their experiences at the recent 15th international gathering of Women in Black in Bogota, Colombia. The event, at the POCAAN office, 1609 19th Ave. S., one block south of Madison, will be a celebration of the power of women as a force for social change.
The Women in Black network got its start in 1988, when Palestinian and Israeli women stood in vigil together to oppose the occupation of Palestine. The strong feminist and nonviolent principles of the group echoed those of women's peace movements around the world, and soon there were Women in Black groups in many countries, standing together to demand peace and justice.
Ruta Pacifica de las Mujeres, a group of Colombian women who oppose violence, is one of the many organizations that make common cause with Women in Black. Founded during the mid-1990s, Ruta Pacifica has become known for uniting diverse women in dramatic peaceful demonstrations protesting violence, especially against women.
In August 2011, in the city of Bogota, Ruta Pacifica Mujeres de Negro hosted the 15th conference of Women in Black, a gathering of almost 200 women activists from around the world. Among them were three members of Seattle's own queer activist community, Luzviminda U. (Lulu) Carpenter, Laura Pedrosa, and Martha Zuniga.
Lesbians have always had a strong visible presence within the international Women in Black movement, and conferences have always included Lesbian workshops. Even though the Bogota conference was their first WIB gathering, Lulu, Laura, and Martha helped organize a powerful Lesbian workshop, and Lulu gave a presentation about violence against Lesbians worldwide.
The Saturday night event at POCAAN, co-sponsored by Mujeres Diversas, Dyke Community Activists, Green Bodies, Puget Sound Old Lesbians Organizing for Change, and Seattle Women in Black, will give Seattleites a chance to be part of this exciting international network. Along with personal stories and a video of the conference, created by Martha, the evening will include musical and spoken-word entertainment, a Mexican feast, a tempting silent auction, and a dance party. Requested donation is $15-$25; no one will be turned away for lack of money. Proceeds will be used to pay transportation costs to the conference with any extra funds donated to women's groups in Colombia.
POCAAN is a wheelchair-accessible venue, and organizers request no strong fragrances be worn.
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