Remembering the Legacy of a Lenca Hero: Berta Caceres

“In our world views, we are beings who come from the Earth, from the water, and from the corn. The Lenca People are ancestral guardians of the river, in turn protected by the spirits of young girls, who teach us that giving our lives in various ways for the protection of the rivers is giving our lives for the well being of humanity and this planet.”  — Berta Cáceres, Honduran Activist

Watercolor painting of Berta Cáceres

Kim and Roses exists to empower women, and celebrate the right of every woman, including the Lenca women of Honduras, to live a life of freedom and basic human rights. Now, if you haven’t heard of the Lenca tribe, that’s probably because they are a smaller population (less than 200,000) concentrated in southwestern Honduras and eastern El Salvador in Central America. Their numbers may be small, but their impact on our world is bigger than most people know.

In 2006, a large hydroelectric dam project was approved for construction on the Gualcarque River, a river considered sacred by the Lenca people, in Intibuca, Honduras. This greenlight came without the consultation or approval of the Lencas, who source their drinking water, fish, irrigation for fields, and more, from that very river.

This is where environmental activist Berta Cáceres stepped in. As a Lenca woman, and founder of the COPINH (Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras), Berta was approached to investigate the construction by a group of Lenca people from Rio Blanco. When Berta discovered the illicit construction plans for the dams, she began an international and grassroots campaign that ultimately succeeded in pressuring the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the project. Berta worked for years with local communities, organizing peaceful protests, legal actions, and community meetings against the project.


Her movement garnered the attention of international environmental organizations and leaders, and in 2015, she was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for her work in blocking the dam construction. After years of death threats for her work in protecting the river, Berta Cáceres was killed in her home on March 2nd, 2016. While justice for Berta has yet to be fully achieved, her legacy continues to live on through both the Honduran and the international community who witnessed the unstoppable force that is a woman protecting her people.


On the second anniversary of her death, Berta Cáceres is present in our hearts, and we remember the sacrifices that she made along with the brave activists and community members who rallied with her to create a change.

If you ask us why we do what we do, it’s so that women like Berta can continue to be heard, be seen, and be remembered.

 

¡Que vivan las Catrachas y todas las mujeres que dan ejemplo de vida!


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