As we celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day this March, Latin@s across the continent are mobilizing to say NO MÁS! NO MORE week is March 7-13 and this year’s theme is global solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Esperanza United is bringing the US perspective with our nationwide prevention and intervention work but we do not stop at the border. We’re joining forces with Colombia and Ecuador dice NO MÁS to address the invisible pandemic of gender-based violence.
International Women’s day took a new meaning last March as we saw a worldwide increase in femicide and gender-based violence. In Costa Rica, women took to the streets using the slogan “no more impunity,” demanding just criminal responses for perpetrators. In Chile, women chanted “Un violador en tu camino,” condemning violations of women’s rights in the workplace and home. The slogans are different in each country but the message is the same – gender-based violence needs to stop and systems need to change now.
In response to the urgency of this crisis, we at Esperanza United are forming deeper connections to organizations and movements across the continent. For example, we are working with women in Costa Rica and Dominican Republic on starting domestic violence programs. We’re collaborating with a foundation in Venezuela where youth are developing an app to support women experiencing violence. And, we recently trained more than 50 community members in Argentina in collaboration with Madres de Pie Mendoza and Casa de la Mujer Mendoza.
The pandemic has also been a significant hurdle for Puerto Rico where people are still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Despite these challenges, Puerto Rico has taken a big step to ending gender-based violence by declaring it a national emergency. One of our staff members, Maria Cristina Pacheco serves on a coalition there that helps make decisions about gender-based violence policy, the Puerto Rico Dual Coalition on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. We’re proud to see her featured in a photographic exhibition commemorating International Women’s Day and raising awareness about women’s rights.We are inspired by the resilience of women across the Americas and will continue to work across borders to end gender-based violence. Decimos NO MÁS – join us for an international webinar with Ecuador dice NO MÁS on March 11!