Reflections on Truth and Justice
August 8, 2013
The following post is written by Judy Swett, Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Boston. Judy participated in the 2012 Honoring Women Religious Delegation to El Salvador and created and coordinated a committee to plan and host the Tour for Truth and Justice for El Salvador’s Disappeared during their time in Boston in Spring 2013. The committee greeted Marina, Patty, Eleazar (of Friends of COMADRES), and Bethany with Boston gift bags, were constantly prepared with water and envelopes, and had even done a trial run of the driving routes between events. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Judy and the entire Boston tour committee!
Patricia Garcia, Judy Swett, Bethany Loberg, Marina Ortiz, Sr. Lois Conner, Mary Rita Weschler, and Sr. Claire Morrissey
The experience of hosting the 2013 Truth and Justice for El Salvador in Boston was deepening and transformative. Our goal was to support the Pro-Historical Memory Commission: a coalition of human rights organizations working for truth, justice and reparations for the grave human rights violations during and after the civil war in El Salvador. How so? By providing them settings in which they could plant seeds of truth in the hearts of those who came to learn.
Stephen Pope, a theologian and professor at Boston College, was profoundly moved by the stories of Marina being torn from her mother’s arms and disappeared for 18 years; and Patty, who wanted to be a sister, being kidnapped twice, tortured and raped. When Pope turned to his class and said “Today we all have witnessed strong women with soft voices,” the room went silent as some of the students wept. Patty’s first person accounts of the brutal repression of poor women and children, was followed by accompanying her mother Alicia in search of disappeared family members. Her mother was a co-founder of the CO-MADRES, a group of women whom Archbishop Romero encouraged and supported as they organized to search for their disappeared loved ones, worked to free political prisoners and advocate fo justice.
From the perspective of the organizing committee in Boston, we all witnessed the courage, conviction, and compassion that Patty and Marina, Bethany and Eleazar embody. Speaking for the Boston Tour committee we all agree there is more work to be done in the campaign for truth, justice and reparations in El Salvador and the U.S. We feel empowered and want to go forward with our sisters and brothers.