Dear Breaking the Silence Friends,

We thank you for your support and once again seek your aid in order to nurture and deepen Breaking the Silence’s solidarity work with Guatemala. As you know, BTS has been working with Guatemalan partners and friends for 20 years. In this time of economic imbalance and poverty, more than ever before we want to ensure that our critical support is maintained. In this, the work of the BTS Coordinators in the Maritimes and Guatemala is critical! We are seeking to raise $200,000 over the next three years to support the work of Jackie McVicar in Guatemala and Wyanne Sandler in the Maritimes.Over the past 20 years, BTS has:

  • Developed lasting relationships with our Guatemalan grassroots partners.
  • Participated in human rights accompaniment. BTS continues to strongly support human rights accompaniment in Guatemala. Accompaniment training will be held in June 2011. We are pleased to have three accompaniers in Guatemala at the present time, with more departing soon.
  • Hosted more than 60 Guatemalan visitors/speaking tours in Canada.
  • Held numerous public education events throughout the Maritime.
  • Sent 18 BTS delegations and 60 interns to Guatemala.
  • Acted on and responded to numerous Urgent Actions affecting partners and related organizations in Guatemala.
  • Supported the development of Breaking the Silence Coffee in partnership with the CCDA and Just Us! Coffee (over 30,000 lbs. of coffee over 8 years).
  • Carried out advocacy and lobbying in Canada around concerns of Guatemalan communities and organizations, including mining, maquilas and free trade.

BTS members talk about why our work is important:

· As a health care worker in an emergency department, I use values I learned in Guatemala every day. Justice and injustice in Guatemala doesn’t happen randomly; health inequalities in Canada don’t happen randomly.—Aaron Bates

· Being involved with Breaking the Silence is losing your sense of ego. This is a generational struggle, this is hundreds of years. In BTS’s work, the small things quickly fit into the big picture.—Jeff Carolin

· Being with people in a transformative journey changes us. BTS has created a space where we can be together and help each other in political action & resistance, in love & creativity, in our deepening relationships with friends in Guatemala & here.—Wyanne Sandler

BTS needs ongoing support:
 Our work depends on the time and energy of hundreds of BTS volunteers. Over the years, the volume and scope of BTS’s work has greatly increased. To continue this incredibly effective work, our many volunteer efforts require the support of our Coordinators in the Maritimes and in Guatemala. With such a large network of volunteer support, the organization and direction our Coordinators provide is invaluable in maintaining our strong, grounded and energetic initiatives.

How you can contribute? Over the next three years, we need to raise $200,000 to provide decent, living wages to our Coordinators and to support our ongoing work. Your charitable donation (along with grants we are seeking from organizations, churches, unions, and foundations) will help ensure the continuation of BTS solidarity work in the coming years.

We want to thank our institutional donors who have given us significant funding in 2010-11, the United Church of Canada, the Congregation of Notre Dame, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and Just Us! Coffee Roasters. We deeply appreciate this vote of confidence. We also encourage you to strongly support Breaking the Silence coffee, as well as all Just Us! products.

Whether you are a past delegation member, intern, accompanier or Breaking the Silence Network friend, we ask that you consider an ongoing pledge or a one-time donation. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We would also like to ask you to consider increasing your monthly or yearly donation. We know that you, as BTS members and friends, vary in your ability to give. We want to assure you that we greatly appreciate both large and small donations and pledges. Such a monthly pledge might, for example, be the equivalent to a few cups of coffee (Breaking the Silence coffee, of course!)

Your donation, however big or small, will help the BTS network to respond to urgent human rights and development challenges alongside our Guatemalan partners. Your gift will help to ensure that our work—firmly grounded in principles of solidarity and social justice—will continue to be effective and sustainable for years to come. Please fill out the accompanying donation form today. Your gift is eligible for a charitable tax receipt. Donations made in the name of a friend or family member also make a great gift! If you do not feel comfortable mailing the donation form, please call 1-800-218-2220 with your credit card information stating that you are pledging to the BTS Coordinators Fund.

In friendship,

BTS Fundraising Committee:

Kathryn Anderson, Marie Claire Brisbois, Sheena Cameron, Janelle Frail, Bonnie Pero, Moira Peters, Jackie Race