Compañeras: Zapatista Women's Stories with Hilary Klein

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Monday, March 16, 2015
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Third Floor Conference Room, Maguire Hall

The Kalmanovitz Initiative, the Justice and Peace Studies program, and the Women’s and Gender Studies program are pleased to welcome Hilary Klein back to Georgetown University for a discussion of her new book, Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Stories.

Hilary will talk about women’s participation in the Zapatista movement, a grassroots social movement fighting for political, economic, and social equality for the indigenous population of Chiapas, Mexico, which has been marginalized for more than five hundred years and devastated by globalization. Hilary will talk about how women’s involvement helped shape the Zapatista movement and how the Zapatista movement, in turn, created opportunities for dramatic transformations in gender roles and women’s rights. She will also talk about potential lessons for organizing for social justice in this country.

As a Practitioner Fellow at the Kalmanovitz Initiative in the fall of 2013, Hilary Klein researched innovative models for low-wage worker campaigns, building upon her two decades of experience in in social justice and community organizing. This year, she published her first book, Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Stories, which she compiled during her years living in Zapatista communities in Chiapas, Mexico.

Compañeras is the untold story of women’s involvement in the Zapatista movement that has inspired grassroots activists around the world for over two decades. It is the stories of grandmothers, mothers, and daughters who became guerrilla insurgents and political leaders, educators and healers and worked collectively to construct a new society of dignity and justice. Compañeras shows how, after centuries of oppression, a few voices of dissent became a force of thousands, how a woman once confined to her kitchen rose to conduct peace negotiations with the Mexican government, and how hundreds of women overcame engrained hardships to strengthen their communities from within.

Hilary Klein lived in Chiapas, Mexico, for several years, where she worked with women’s projects in Zapatista communities. After she edited a book of Zapatista women’s testimonies to be circulated in their own villages, women in the Zapatista leadership suggested that she compile a similar book for an outside audience. She has been engaged in social justice and community organizing for twenty years and currently works at Make the Road New York, a membership organization that builds the power of immigrant and working-class communities.

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