WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

A Reluctant Warrior: A Discussion of Afro-Colombian Resistance

Monday, 24 July 2017
1666 Connecticut Ave N.W. Suite 400, Washington D.C.

 WOLA, the DC Solidarity Committee for the Civic Strike, and AFRODES International invite you to the following event:


Kelly Nicholls,
Author, A Reluctant Warrior

Divalizeth Murillo,
Bonaverense reporter in Washington D.C. and member of the DC Committee in Solidarity with the Civic Strike in Buenaventura

Moderated By:
Gimena Sanchez-Garzoli,
Senior Associate for the Andes, WOLA

Monday, July 24, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
1666 Connecticut Ave N.W., Suite 400
Washington D.C.

This event will be held in Spanish and English with simultaneous translation available.
                           A livestream will be available at www.wola.org.

A Reluctant Warrior is a novel that follows the experience of an Afro-Colombian displaced woman and her family as they navigate life at the center of the drug-fueled conflict in Colombia’s Pacific coast. Written by Kelly Brooke Nicholls, former Director of the U.S. Office on Colombia (USOC) with extensive experience with Afro-descendant, displaced, and victims’ communities in Colombia, this reality-based novel enthralls the reader by exposing the complexity of modern day Colombia. It brings to life the distinct Afro-Colombian cultural traditions, the bravery of those who are trying to change the situation nationally and internationally, the role of the United States in this war, and the pain felt by the conflict victims.

At this event, we will discuss the novel and present on the current context facing Afro-Colombians in Buenaventura. Buenaventura recently made headlines in May when a civic strike began in May to get Colombia to respond to the poor living and security conditions these residents are facing. Afro-Colombians, who make up the majority of the protestors, organized a Committee for the Civil Strike to Live in Dignity and Peace, a coalition of 20 organizations. They had basic demands: access to water, sanitation, and dignified work. Given the fact that Buenaventura’s port is a major economic engine for the country, it is contradictory that 62 percent of residents are internally displaced; 54 percent of people do not have adequate housing; and that 36 percent do not have the basic needs met. The government initially responded by sending in the anti-riot police, ESMAD, who committed numerous abuses. However, peaceful demonstrations did not let up and eventually Colombia negotiated with the protestors. In this agreement, the government makes a series of commitments to improve services and infrastructure in the region. WOLA serves as an international guarantor to this agreement.

Kelly Nicholls will join us from Australia via Skype teleconference to discuss her book. Divalizeth Murillo, a Bonaverense reporter from the DC Committee in Solidarity with the Civic Strike in Buenaventura and Gimena Sanchez of WOLA will comment on the current situation in Buenaventura, how this intersects with U.S. foreign policy and what you can do about it.

We encourage everyone to obtain a copy Nicholls’ book and to read it ahead of time. It can be obtain on Amazon.