LGBT leader Jose "Pepe" Palacios will discuss LGBT activists' role in the movement to end violence and restore democracy in Honduras. Palacios is a founding member of the Honduran LGBT group, Diversity Movement in Resistance (MDR), and a member of the steering committee of the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP).
Following a 2009 U.S.-supported coup, Honduras won the dubious distinction of having the highest murder rate in the world. Coup supporters used the overthrow of the elected government to settle scores against social justice movements and the poor.
Since the coup, 87 LGBT Hondurans – including top leaders like Walter Trochez and LIBRE candidate Erick Martinez Avila – have been murdered in a systematic campaign of targeted hate crimes and political assassination.
Contrary to stereotypes about predominately Roman Catholic countries, Honduras has a vibrant Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) movement which is among the leading forces organizing against the coup regime. LGBTs there have joined indigenous peoples, African descendants, farmers, teachers, women, students, and trade unionists in numerous, massive, non-violent street demonstrations of resistance.
This summer and fall, in the run up to the country's first contested election since the coup, many fear that the violence will get even worse. The purpose of the DePaul event, part of a seven-city tour organized by the Gay Liberation Network, La Voz de los de Abajo and he Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America, is to raise international awareness about the dire situation in the country and use the spotlight of publicity to add a higher level of safety for activists there.
The January 30th event is co-sponsored by DePaul's LGBT activist organization, Act Out, the DePaul Alliance for Latino Empowerment, and the Office of LGBTQA Student Services.
Included in the event will be a short film produced by the Gay Liberation Network. The film was shot during a September 2012 solidarity delegation to Honduras organized by La Voz de los de Abajo, and shows armed guards of the nation's largest landowner firing in the direction of the delegation to intimidate them from investigating a murder that had happened just a few days before.
For more information email LGBTliberation@aol.com
Please note: There also will be a Spanish-language event with Pepe at 7 PM, Friday, Feb. 1 at the Mestli Gallery and Cultural Center, 2005 S. Blue Island Avenue. For more information about the Spanish language meeting, call La Voz de los de Abajo Chicago 312-259-5042
Pepe kicks off the tour with a presentation at this weekend's annual "Creating Change" conference in Atlanta. Other cities on Pepe's tour include Madison, Milwaukee, Cleveland, New York, Washington and possibly Oshkosh. Please email LGBTliberation@aol.com for information on appearances in those cities.
Location: Arts & Letters Hall, Room 412, 2315 N. Kenmore Ave, DePaul University, Lincoln Park Campus