Welcoming the Stranger in Need

Vigil for Indigenous rights defender Berta Cáceres. Credit: KAIROS Canada

My family and I were forced to leave El Salvador on June 7, 1980. The country was on the brink of civil war after decades of oppressive military dictatorship and extreme poverty.

I was 17, just four months away from finishing high school.

Students were key players in the struggle for access to education, health, housing, and decent jobs. We took to the streets in demonstrations and strikes knowing that our demand for basic human rights was considered a crime and that participating in the social movement could land us in jail, the hospital, or the cemetery. Many of us were persecuted.

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