09 Jan Happy Birthday Blog: Rigoberta Menchú Tum
Rigoberta Menchú Tum
Born: January 9, 1959
Laj Chimel, Quiché, Guatamala
Known For: Civil Rights Activism for Indigenous Women and 1992 Nobel Peace Prize
Rigoberta was raised in the Quiché branch of the Mayan culture but became involved in social justice work through the Catholic Church. Even as a teenager, she was heavily involved in the women’s rights movement. She suffered several personal tragedies for her family’s work with the Committee of the Peasant Union, losing both her parents and brother to guerrilla violence. In the 1980s, she fled Guatamala because of her political associations but began to organize a resistance movement against government oppression, while also advocating for Indian peasant peoples’ rights.
In 1992, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.” She used the prize money to found the Rigoberta Menchú Tum Foundation, an Indian advocacy organization. After spending much of her adult life in exile, she returned to Guatamala in the 2000s to help implement the country’s peace accords. In 2006, along with fellow women Nobel Peace Laureates, she founded the Nobel Women’s Initiative with the goal of strengthening women’s rights around the world. Since then she created the Indian-led political movement Winaq, and has run for president twice.
To this day she continues to fight for women’s rights, indigenous rights, and reconciliation. For all her wonderful and inspiring work, The Good Doctors wish her a very happy birthday!
Read more about Rigoberta here.