Dear Friends of Breaking the Silence,

What do court cases addressing charges of rape and murder at the HudBay El Estor mine and sexual slavery during Guatemala’s genocidal conflict, the International People’s Health Tribunal on health impacts of mining held in San Miguel Ixtahuacan, and Maritimes speaking tours addressing fair trade, gender and resistance to global corporate agendas have in common? They are all issues supported and facilitated by our Breaking the Silence coordinators in Canada and Guatemala, Jackie McVicar and Wyanne Sandler. They are also solidarity activities threatened by the current political context in Canada. In response, in this holiday time of generosity and a yearning for peace and justice, we seek your support!

For the past 23 years, BTS has drawn support from our incredible network, as well as from various public and private funding sources. Federal government cutbacks mean that our public funding through CIDA is no longer available. At the same time, unions and churches, who have been strong supporters, also face financial challenges. As a result, we are struggling to provide secure funding for our coordinators. This means that our ability to undertake solidarity work is at risk!

Many of you have responded generously to our cries for support and for this we offer our heartfelt thanks. At the same time, we are still struggling to provide a secure living wage for our coordinators so they can continue to engage in the work that makes BTS so meaningful to all of us! In addition to the activities listed above, over the past year our coordinators have done the following (and much more!):

• Organized three face-to-face skill building and knowledge sharing meetings among our Guatemalan partners
• Coordinated and accompanied speaking tours by Norma Herrera (National Union of Guatemalan Women) and Lesbia Morales (Comite Campesino del Altiplano/ Highlands Committee of Small Farmers)
• Organized and facilitated a two-week delegation to meet with BTS partners in Guatemala
• Organized a street theatre action in Toronto during the Goldcorp AGM
• Supported a film festival about defense of land.

We are seeking one time, monthly or yearly donations that will enable our work to continue. As national foreign aid priorities shift to favour corporate–driven “development” work, it is more important than ever that BTS continue to focus on solidarity, human rights and environmental justice work.

For those already contributing, any small increase in your donation will go a long way! A donation form is included below. You may also call 1-800-218-2220 with your credit card information before Dec. 19th or after Jan. 3rd. Donations for the 2012 tax year must arrive at Tatamagouche Centre no later than Jan. 14th. Please indicate that funds are intended for the BTS Staffing Fund. Your gift is eligible for a charitable tax receipt. Donations made in the name of a friend or family member make a great Christmas gift!

In the words of BTS Coordinator Wyanne Sandler. “BTS has created a space where we can be together and help each other in political action and resistance, in love and creativity, in our deepening relationships with friends in Guatemala and here.”

We ask you to support this ongoing love, action, creativity and resistance.

In solidarity,

BTS Fundraising Committee: Kathryn Anderson, Marie Claire Brisbois, Sheena Cameron, Janelle Frail, Bonnie Pero, Moira Peters, Jackie Race, Marla LeBlanc