Stories to and from Guatemala
Internal conflict officially ended after 36 years in 1996 with the Peace Accords. The aftermath of that conflict was hundreds of thousands killed and dissappeared and more than a million displaced. Our partner organization, Guatemala Partnership at University Church invited Stories Connect to travel with them to learn about an indigenous community called Saq Ja in the El Quiche state in the north of the country.
In 1985, the Vicente family fled Guatemala and arrived in Chicago seeking and receiving Sanctuary at University Church. The family was granted citizenship and after many years wanted to return to Guatemala to learn the fate of the community that had been wiped out from the war. The community had been destroyed by the government and paramilitary (corporate) apparatus. First led by Virgilio, the Partnership began, and continues to foster, a decades long relationship meant to support the reunification of this community and provide the basic necessities for rebuilding.
For two years, Stories Connect has participated in the visits by collecting the stories of the Saq Ja community and the stories of the U.S. visitors who share their stories of war, state violence, violence against the Mayan indigenous population and the connections and similarities to U.S. violence against Indigenous and people of color communities in the United States.