In what is undoubtedly the most phenomenally rad and exceptionally inspirational way to round out the last decade, a group of over 3,000 women recently came together in an autonomous Zapatista enclave in Chiapas, a southern state in Mexico, to learn from each other, strategize about the future of their movements, and celebrate their collective power. The four-day meeting was the Second International Meeting of Women Who Fight.
“It seems simple to say, but we know there are few places in the world where we can be happy and safe. For that reason we are here, because our pain and our rage has brought us to this point, because of the violence that women suffer for the crime of being women,” said Comandanta Amada, the Zapatista who inaugurated the Meeting of Women Who Fight, in her opening speech. Her full remarks can be read here.
Forty-nine different countries were represented in the gathering, from Demark to Sri Lanka to Greece to Siberia. There were also reportedly 26 men registered for the meeting, along with 95 “little girls.” The gates to the enclave where they gathered and slept and spoke and danced were guarded by women with bows and arrows. The first rule of this fight club is, don’t mess with this fight club.
Reading the transcript of Comandanta Amada’s remarks is both inspiring and upsetting, recognizing the power that these women hold along with the pain and suffering they endure that necessitates this iteration of this gathering. Toward the end of her remarks she says, “…perhaps once you all are alive and free, your problems will be different, with different arguments and fights. But until that day comes, sister and compañeras, we have to take care of each other, protect each other, defend each other.” Here’s to hoping (and fighting) for the day when their problems are different, because if this is what they are capable of while needing to focus on surviving, imagine what more they are capable of when survival isn’t a concern.