By Beth U.
Today I found out that a friend I met while conducting fieldwork in Punta Gorda, Belize passed away. She contacted me several weeks ago and I had yet to return her email, busy with a new semester of teaching. Panic and remorse follow me these hours after her death. Pieces of the days we spent together filter through my thoughts and the rawness of fieldwork returns. We walk the humid, mud-sluiced streets of PG at night. We grasp arms as our small boat to a remote island caye hits a ferocious storm and engorged waves slam against the bow. I remember most the passionate hours she gave to both understand and support the local Maya Land Rights Movement.
I carry my commitments, as we all do, into sometimes stale and alienating spaces. I am distanced (geographically) from Belize now as well as from much of my ongoing community work in Philadelphia as I commute to a new job. In this temporary space, I long for the immediacy of this type of engagement. Which leads me back to this project. Nearly a year in formation, we are ready to launch ENVISION. In honor of activist and humanist Jennifer Simi, please, let us continue our work.
For the conversations we shared, Jenn, and the songs we sang.