Despite – or perhaps because of – the immense challenges girls face, a common feature of their activism is the way they engage in the radical practice of imagining the world not how it is, but how it might be.
And they bring this imagination back to bear on the present, in the ways they learn, play, organise, invent and care for themselves and each other. Indeed, it is likely her imagination that will lead us all to liberation.
There is a girl who is the daughter of my sister that I accompany, and thinking about her, I would say… That it is worth imagining, it is worth dreaming, that it is worth being angry. That… all people can be angry and have a mood but that they are not alone, that here in Guatemala, that here in their house, that there in Latin America they are not alone because we are thinking about them, not for them, but that we are thinking about them. Wanting to build better environments; safe, healthy, happy, dignified, rebellious, feminist and above all, women’s environments.
I remember a situation that really drove me badly to protest. A girl from South Sudan was crying and hiding behind the classes, so I went to her to ask her what the problem was. Her friend told me that she is in her period and she did not find a toilet for the girls. The campus just had open spaces under the sun, there was no privacy for anyone let alone a woman. She was so embarrassed. I was so upset and I asked all the students to gather and to discuss this issue. Then we went as a group to the university administration to explain our demands. They were very aggressive with us and one of the professors said “this is so rude and we will never change anything for the sake of girls’ period”. His reaction was inhumane and he humiliated our rights. So I asked the student to start a strike. I gathered 50 signatures of students who refused to go to class and strike with us. We agreed to our demands and went on strike. More than 2,000 students joined us and we were on strike for two days. After that the president of the university took action and he responded to our demands.
It was the biggest victory in my life. My father and family were proud of me. Now they will respect our rights, they will respect our period!