On July 6 in the Americas and in Europe, and on July 7 in Asia, the Alianza ConVida 20 was launched. The name of the alliance contextualizes the social action that its participants seek to promote amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 57 representatives of about 50 organizations from 16 different American, European and Oceanian countries logged into the meeting. The bishop of the Mexican Diocese of Saltillo, and co-president of ‘SICSAL Oscar Romero’, Don Raúl Vera López, was in charge of opening of the virtual meeting. He emphasized the need for us to ‘interlink as communities to strive for changes, starting from the grassroots.’
Vera López highlighted the fact that SICSAL, rather than leading the alliance, aims to set in motion a network of networks so that those who take part in it may determine the path to follow.
Maricarmen Montes, of ‘Mujeres para el Diálogo’, also from Mexico, spoke of the goals of the alliance: the utopian objective, which has already been sealed with the martyrdom of Monsignor Romero – ‘We must radically change the whole system.’ In the short and medium term, the initiative consists in ‘interlinking us all, individuals and organizations from all backgrounds, to promote advocacy and mobilization and to produce analysis, aimed at building, from the grassroots of popular movements, a society that favors human and ecological life during the pandemic and also afterwards.’
ConVida20 will address nine different matters, which will become working commissions. Such topics, as introduced by Gerardo Duré, from Argentina, are the following: 1) Foreign debt, non-payment or standstill; 2) Universal basic income, a demand for labor justice; 3) Patriarchy: women, equity and gender-based violence; 4) Climate crisis; 5) Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples; 6) Migration: its causes and effects and the rights of migrant populations; 7) Peacebuilding, zero violence, and anti-militarism; 8) Cybertechnologies: power of the media and geopolitics; and 9) Land, Housing, Work and Transcendence (the ‘Four T’s’, according to their initials in Spanish –Tierra, Techo, Trabajo y Trascendencia).
Ana María Lozano and Abilio Peña, from Colombia, pointed out that the nine Working Commissions will elaborate concrete actions regarding mobilization, advocacy, analysis production and the issuance of articles and communiqués. Monthly meetings will be convened, where the Commissions will be developing a topic each time. These virtual meetings will be open for anyone wishing to participate.
Several organizations and networks that were present are already leading actors in addressing different matters, for example, SOA Watch, the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM), the Continental Christian Network for Peace (RECONPAZ), among others. The aim is for the alliance to support their leadership.
The alliance will also seek to hold meetings with the Post-COVID Commission organized by Pope Francis, as well as with the Southern Ecosocial Pact (Pacto Ecosocial del Sur) and with Noam Chomsky, who is part of Progressive International.
We have also invited Guatemalan Cardinal Alvaro Ramazzini, a close collaborator of Pope Francis, to this network of networks, but he was unable to access the launching forum due to technical issues.
The meeting marks the beginning of a global alliance. The organizations and people present in such meeting have shown interest in taking part in the alliance, and we have agreed to schedule a new gathering on July 20 to work on the commissions and to decide the steps to be taken.
Rev. Emilie Smith, co-president of ‘SICSAL Oscar Romero’, closed the meeting by quoting a passage of Popol Vuh, sacred text of the Mayan peoples, which shows the transcendental dimension that is present in all aspects of this new initiative:
‘Yea, pleasing is the day, you, Huracan, and you, Heart of Sky and Earth, you who give abundance and new life, and you who give daughters and sons. (…) May there be no fault, confinement, shame, or misfortune. May no deceiver come behind them or before them. May they not fall or be wounded. (…) May they not fall below the road or above the road. May they not be stricken or have impediments placed behind them or before them. (…) May their existence be favored, so that they may be providers and sustainers to you, to your mouths and to your faces (…).’ – Popol Vuh.
Translation: Lucia Molnar, Freelance Translator. To contact her: firstname.lastname@example.org