Ayanda Denge

“I am a wonder… Therefore I have been born by a mother! As I begin to stutter, my life has been like no other…” - Ayanda Denge  (read the whole poem below)

Paulina Cruz Ruiz

Paulina Cruz Ruiz, from the Rabinal, Baja Verapaz region of Guatemala, was an ancestral Maya Achí (Indigenous) authority and a human rights defender.

She was actively involved in community organizing and resistance, including legal measures against mining projects on Indigenous territory, projects that would severely affect and damage the socio-environmental fabric.  

Cristina Bautista

“If we stay quiet they kill us and if we talk [they kill us] too. So, let’s talk.” -  Cristina Bautista, 2019

Leah Tumbalang

Leah Tumbalang was a Lumad woman of Mindanao in the Philippines. The story of Lumad Indigenous peoples encompasses generations of resistance to large-scale corporate mining, protection of ancestral domains, resources, culture, and the fight for the right to self-determination. 

Esther Mwikali

Esther Mwikali’s home was in Mithini village, Murang’a County, Kenya. A prominent and valued land rights activist, she looked into abuses against squatters who are living on land claimed by tycoons. The investigation Esther was part of also involved land rights’ violations in Makuyu by powerful individuals.

After failing to attend a village meeting, a search party went looking for Esther. On 27 August 2019, two days after her disappearance, her body was found on a farm near her homestead, displaying signs of torture. She was brutally murdered. 

Mirna Teresa Suazo Martínez

Mirna Teresa Suazo Martínez was part of the Garifuna (Afro-descendent and Indigenous) Masca community, living on the North Caribbean coast of Honduras. She was a community leader and a fervent defender of the Indigenous territory, a land that was violated when the National Agrarian Institute of Honduras gave territorial licenses to people outside of the community. 

Nilcéa Freire

Nilcéa Freire was a Brazilian feminist activist, politician and academic. A persevering advocate for women’s rights and those of underrepresented minorities in the country, her life and work carried a long history of struggles and victories.

"While resisting we have to keep pushing for progress, and what we can achieve at this time, in my view, will be through the stupendous organization of young white women, and especially black women, in all of the state capitals and large cities of Brazil." - Nilcéa Freire

Rosa Candida Mayorga Muñoz

Rosa Candida Mayorga Muñoz was a Guatemalan social worker, union leader and labor rights defender. She was affectionately called Rosita and she inspired change. 

Isabel Cabanillas de la Torre

Isabel Cabanillas de la Torre was a much loved young feminist artist and activist from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, known for her beautiful and evocative hand-painted clothing with eyes being an emblematic feature in her work. Her murals transformed the run down and vacant buildings in Ciudad Juarez’s downtown, bringing life and political commentary to their walls.

María Digna Montero

María Digna Montero was a Garifuna (Afro-descendent and indigenous) land defender and a member of the National Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), a grassroots organization working to protect the Garifuna communities, their ancestral rights, culture, resources and territory.

María also taught in the local school and was a member of the OFRANEH Intercultural Bilingual Education working group.

On the Day of Indigenous Resistance, October 12, 2019, unknown assailants shot María multiple times in the backyard of her house.