Breaking the Genocide Silence – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Breaking the Genocide Silence

Human rights advocate Cecilia González shares story of Guatemalan genocide

(Oct. 17, 2003) GENEVA, N.Y.–Between 1960 and 1996, it is estimated that some 200,000 people were executed or “disappeared” at the hands of Guatemalan “death squads.” Of those, it is estimated that the number of cases where the perpetrators have been identified and brought to justice can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Cecilia GonzalezCecilia González, a member of the human rights group HIJOS Guatemala, will discuss how loved ones of the missing are trying to rectify that situation when she presents “After the Genocide: Organizing in Guatemala through Art and Creative Action.”

González will speak at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 22, in the Sanford Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library on the Hobart and William Smith campus. The event, part of the Genocide and Human Rights Lecture Series at HWS, is free and open to the public.

A sociology student at San Carlos University, González, is the assistant to the program coordinator for the Guatemalan Network for Democratic Security. The network is made up of civil society organizations and government agencies that collectively work on security issues, including workshops and dialogs with the Guatemalan National Civil Police.

Formed in 1999, HIJOS Guatemala is comprised of young people who were children when their parents disappeared or were killed. They have joined together–some of them returning from exile–to try and establish what happened to their parents, and who was responsible.

HIJOS utilizes alternative educational tools to help today's youth understand the struggle for social justice. Members convey their message through art therapy, street art, poetry, music, photography, documentaries, music festivals, publications and popular theater.

The Genocide series at Hobart and William Smith, established in 1999, strives to improve understanding of life-annihilation processes inherent in our modern world, as well as help participants learn more about the circumstances under which these processes tend to focus on specific groups in events known as genocide.

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Gonzalez recently spoke at Cornell University on the same topic, her last tour stop before the Colleges. The story of her talk was published in the Oct. 22 Cornell Daily Sun.