This year The Esperanza Project will celebrate nine years of life – nine years of bringing inspiration and hope to the work of environmental and indigenous rights journalism. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, and poised to take our work to the next level. Please read on to see our highlights, our exciting plans for 2018, and how you can help.
In 2017, we gave voice to so many sources of inspiration. To name just a few:
* After a wave of earthquakes left thousands homeless in Mexico, scores of natural builders, architects and visionaries stepped up to ‘bio-reconstruct” a new, resilient society from the rubble;
* A Maryknoll sister who spoke out against Salvadoran death squads who assassinated her sisters in the civil wars of Central America in the 1980s, now speaking for the Web of Life;
* The Ngäbe-Buglé people of Panama, and thousands of other Panamanians, flooded out by senseless hydroelectric dams – and yet they fight on;
* The Huichol people of Mexico, taking back their stolen lands in a historic court battle, and staying the court despite intimidation, harassment and the eventual assassination of their leader;
* Voices from Standing Rock, a six-part series on individuals giving their time, love and labor to join the indigenous Water Protectors of North Dakota;
* The Call of the Water, a transformative event convoking hundreds of healers, artists, activists, indigenous leaders and community leaders to the shores of a sacred lake to pray, sing and work for its protection.
These are just a few of the many original stories we published in 2017; you can peruse our pages to find more, and subscribe to us in the lefthand column above to make sure you don’t miss any of our reporting. You can also follow us on Facebook to see the work of our collaborators and other inspirational environmental and human rights reporting.
2018 is shaping up to be an exciting year for The Esperanza Project. Besides the anticipated ongoing coverage of environmental and indigenous rights issues for The Esperanza Project website and other publications we are collaborating with, here are just a few of the things we’re looking forward to:
Esperanza, the book
After 7 years in the works, Looking for Esperanza: One Woman’s Search for Hope in the Other America is about to be born.This memoir of Tracy L. Barnett’s 2010 journey through Latin America connects the dots among a colorful and inspiring cast of characters as the writer makes her way from Mexico to Argentina and back again.
The landscape shifts from awe-inspiring to desolate, and back again, with the inner journey being the most challenging one of all.
Esperanza Project readers will have first access to this work and will have the only access to full, uncut interviews with individuals ranging from ex-guerillas to a survivor of the Bay of Pigs invasion, from shamans and priests to organic farmers and fishermen-turned-activists. Most importantly, they will leave with a better understanding of the world south of the Rio Grande, the other America barely imagined by its neighbors to the north.
Guardians, the Film Series
* Preparing the launch of the ambitious new 7-part film series, Guardians: Tales of Resistance, depicting seven different indigenous cultures throughout the Americas and their fight to save their territories and their cultures. Part One about the Kamentsá from Putumayo, Colombia, is finished; Part Two, about the Guaranís from Chaco, Bolivia, will be finished soon. This series, featuring the protagonists of Huicholes, The Last Peyote Guardians, in a journey to connect with other indigenous nations in their fight for cultural survival, is the followup to that internationally acclaimed 2014 film by Argentine filmmaker Hernán Vílchez.
We’re excited to announce a new addition to our team: Mexican songwriter and journalist, yoga and permaculture enthusiast and first-rate translator Angélica Almazán Escalante will be joining Tracy as co-editor of The Esperanza Project.
Since 2010 Angélica has traveled through Mexico with her guitar, carrying a message of freedom, love and connection with nature. Since 2014 she has supported us as an occasional contributor and as the tireless translator for El Proyecto Esperanza, the Spanish side of our website. She will also be the translator for the book, Looking for Esperanza.
Voices of Amerikua
Among our new collaborators we are especially excited to present Voices of Amerikua, a collaborative project promoting efforts to protect the culture and rights of indigenous peoples and Mother Nature throughout the Americas.
A network of filmmakers, media producers, activists, musicians and indigenous community members themselves, Voices, founded by independent filmmaker, producer and activist Ivan Sawyer, works in partnership with Indigenous leaders, youth and Wisdom Keepers to produce powerful multimedia pieces sharing the stories of those on the front lines, risking everything to protect our environment and their traditional ways of life.
Big plans are afoot at The Esperanza Project – new collaborators are already at work on stories that you won’t find anywhere else about people who are creating the new paradigm. Follow the indigenous healer and presidential candidate María de Jesus Patricio Martinez, now calling the Mexican civil society to join together to heal their land. Learn about the Mayan beekeepers who are fighting Monsanto, the team of visionaries working to save the Lake of Seven Colors, the movement for the Rights of Nature, the Global Ecovillage Network, Sacred Stone Ecovillage, and many more fronts on the re-evolution of a regenerative culture that can sustain life for the Seven Generations and far beyond.
Be a part of it!
You may be surprised to know that The Esperanza Project is an entirely volunteer enterprise, like many alternative media projects that fill in the blanks where the mainstream media doesn’t have the resources or the interest to go. It’s been a labor of love for eight years now, and we are excited about taking it to new levels of excellence in 2018. Still, it costs money to produce this work – for web hosting, equipment repairs and replacement, travel, etc. – and we count on readers like you to pitch in to help us cover those expenses. We are also always on the lookout for folks to join the team – writers, photographers, translators, social media experts, fundraisers, etc.
The Esperanza Project is a 501(c)3 organization, which means that you can make your tax-deductible contribution right here. We will happily acknowledge all our donors on our website and at The Esperanza Project’s Facebook page, with nearly 18,000 followers. And your good karma will follow you throughout the year and beyond!
There are lots of other ways you can support our work, from liking and sharing us on social media to writing stories of your own. Find out how you can join our team; see what your role might be in helping us raise hope in the world in 2018!
Angelica Almazan Escalante
Last Peyote Guardians
The Esperanza Project
Tracy L. Barnett
Voices of Amerikua