Rights Worker to Speak on Impact of War

A native of the northwestern Colombian province of Choco who has been active most of her life in the struggle for women’s rights in Colombia will make two speaking appearances in Harrisonburg.

Zulia Mena will speak about the impact of the war in Colombia and U.S. foreign policy on the Afro-Colombian people 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, in the Common Grounds Coffeehouse at EMU. The coffeehouse is located on ground floor of EMU’s University Commons.

Ms. Mena was elected to Congress in 1994, serving for four years as Colombia’s first ever Afro-Colombian congresswoman. Today, she continues her work in the Choc´┐Ż as a community organizer and social worker.

At 8 p.m. Tuesday, Mena will speak at James Madison University. She will be accompanied by Harrisonburg resident Silvia Romero, who will talk about her experiences as a Latino in the Shenandoah Valley. The presentation will be held at the Health and Human Services (HHS) Building 1301.

Ms. Romero was born in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. Her family came to the United States in 1991, and she started elementary school not speaking a word of English. Romero currently works for the Shenandoah Valley Migrant Education Program and is involved in the community through her church, Blessed Sacrament, and the Latino theater troupe, Teatro Chirmol.

Mena is traveling across the southeastern U.S. with Witness for Peace, acting as a voice for the Afro-Colombian population internationally. Her appearances locally are sponsored in part by EMU’s Conflict Transformation Program (CTP).

Admission to both presentations is free.

For more information, contact Danny Malec, (540) 729-6936; e-mail: dannymalec@hotmail.com.