From Eduardo Galeano's "Celebration of the Human Voice" -
"The Uruguayan dictatorship wanted everyone to stand alone. everyone to be no one: in prisons and barracks, and throughout the country, communication was a crime.Some prisoners spent more than ten years buried in solitary cells the size of coffins, hearing nothing but clanging bars or footsteps in the corridors. . . [They] survived because they could talk to each other by tapping on the wall. In that way they told of dreams and memories, fallings in and out of love; they discussed, embraced, fought; they shared beliefs and beauties, doubts and guilts, and those questions that have no answers.
When it is genuine, when it is born of the need to speak, no one can stop the human voice. When denied a mouth, it speaks with the hands or the eyes, or the pores, or anything at all. Because every single one of us has something to say to the others, something that deserves to be celebrated or forgiven by others."
Recently, we held a workshop for parents involved in Programa Velasco. These monthly meetings are a requirement for families involved in the scholarship program, but it is my hope that these workshops are a space where parents can enjoy themselves, feel themselves part of a community, and just let their stresses and anxieties go for a few hours. The workshops focus on personal formation and development; they get to think about who they are, what dreams they have for themselves and their families, their strengths, and the things they struggle with. I think it's so important that people have those kinds of spaces - especially the poor, who are too-often dehumanized or exploited in their work, or mistreated and abused at home. I think there is something really humanizing about simply being able to speak your truth.
This month, the theme for our personal formation and development workshop was a tough one: what are the things in your life that bind you? what chains you down? what silences you?
It all just felt really heavy. The reality that people live in. Violence all around. Fear, above all else. Not knowing how you'll find a job. Violence in the home. Rape. Things that they cannot talk about, mostly because they do not have the spaces to talk or the people who will listen.
So, while it felt really heavy to hear story after story of being chained down by the reality, it also felt a little bit like this:
In simply being able to share their stories, there is a little bit of liberation. If not from the violence, the poverty, the exploitation, at least there is liberation from one thing: the silence.
"When it is genuine, when it is born of the need to speak, no one can stop the human voice. When denied a mouth, it speaks with the hands or the eyes, or the pores, or anything at all. Because everyone of us has something to say to the others, something that deserves to be celebrated or forgiven by others."