Sep 22, 2012

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Jody Williams' Message of Support to the Mexican Peace Caravan

The Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity demanded an end to the drug war in the capital of the nation that launched the war. After setting off from AFL-CIO headquarters where the nation's largest federation of unions saluted its efforts, the caravan planted itself in front of the White House, then proceeded to Freedom Plaza.

In the Plaza, as the sun set over the Capitol, Xochitl Espinosa of the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities read a statement of support from Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams. Below is the statement in its entirety:


As a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, as director of the Nobel Women’s Initiative and as a sister peace activist, I send this message to express my support for the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity, and to congratulate all the members of the caravan for the sacrifice and commitment that have brought you across the country to share your pain-- and your hope-- with the U.S. public.

I’m really sorry that I can’t be with you in person today, to welcome the Caravan for Peace to Washington DC, to stand beside you as you deliver your message to stop the drug war that has devastated your country and your families, to support you as you ‘speak truth to power’ here, in the center of power.

I have lived and worked in Mexico and consider that great country not just a neighboring nation, but another home. It has grieved me to see Mexico, and Mexicans, immersed in violence over the past years. As a result of that growing concern, my organization, the Nobel Women’s Initiative along with Just Associates led an international delegation to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. We heard hundreds of testimonies from women who are confronting violence. Many of those terrible stories and most of the pain we listened to was caused by the war on drugs.

Our conclusion was that: the war on drugs has become a war on women. We see on this caravan many examples of brave women who have turned their pain into action, who have converted grief into a tireless demand for justice.

And so I send a warm greeting to the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity.
For there is no other kind of peace. There can be no lasting peace without justice. There can be no peace as a result of militarization, and fighting violence with violence. There can be no peace not founded on respect for human rights and dignity.

It is only through collective, non-violent action--where women are recognized as equal partners and leaders--that we can build peace.

That is why the work of Mexico’s peace movement is so important. That is why your presence here in the United States—a nation that continues to support the war on drugs that has claimed the lives of so many of your loved ones--has such meaning for all of us who work for peace.

Thank you. I wish you much success.

Jody Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work to ban landmines through the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which shared the Peace Prize with her that year. At that time, she became the 10th woman - and third U.S. woman - in its almost 100-year history to receive the Prize.  Since her protests of the Vietnam War, she has been a life-long advocate of freedom, self-determination and human and civil rights.

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