The Ethnic Working Group of Colombia’s Truth Commission

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Leyner Palacios Asprilla

ON BEHALF OF

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Patricia Tobón

ON BEHALF OF

WOLA is honoring the Ethnic Working Group of Colombia’s Truth Commission which, despite immense personal danger and risk, is working to establish the truth of what Afro-Colombian and Indigenous communities experienced during Colombia’s armed conflict. 

Colombia’s Truth Commission was a cornerstone achievement of the country’s historic 2016 accords that ended Latin America’s longest-running armed conflict. 

The commission’s Ethnic Working Group is dedicated to uncovering the truth behind what Afro-descendant and Indigenous communities endured during the 52 years of bloodshed, displacement, and terror.   

In establishing the truth of what happened, the working group is confronting the cycle of systemic violence and racism that Black and Indigenous Colombians have resisted since colonial times. They offer a path forward for redress, healing, and a future for all Colombians that is rooted in hope and joy. 

Commission members Leyner Palacios Asprilla and Patricia Tobón will accept the award on behalf of the Truth Commission’s Ethnic Working Group. 

About Leyner Palacios Asprilla 

Palacios has spent over 20 years raising his voice for justice and peace in Colombia. He is a survivor of the 2002 massacre in Bojayá, Chocó, when an estimated 86 people died during a church bombing; he lost dozens of family members and friends.

(Hear Palacios tell his story in the first episode of Rebuilding Peace, a documentary podcast released as part of WOLA’s #ConLíderesHayPaz campaign. Support the work and protect the lives of Colombian activists like Palacios by joining the #ConLíderesHayPaz campaign.) 
 

About Patricia Tobón 

Tobón, an Indigenous leader of the Embera people, is a lawyer and advocate for the social and political rights of ethnic communities in Colombia.

 

Rep. Barbara Lee
(D-California)

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WOLA is honoring Rep. Barbara Lee for her career of bold and pioneering leadership promoting peace, social justice and human rights throughout the Americas.

Elected to the House of Representatives in 1998, Lee has been a tireless advocate for humanitarian aid and restricting the use of force in U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean. 

As a member and former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, she has pushed for U.S. policies on Colombia that center development and uphold the rights of Afro-descendant and Indigenous communities, rather than overemphasizing funding to Colombia’s armed forces. 

She spent decades advocating for normalizing U.S. relations with Cuba, pressing for policies of engagement with the island in order to advance human rights and political reform. As a long-time member of the House Western Hemisphere subcommittee, she has been a forceful advocate for human rights and democracy in Central America. 

In addition to successfully backing laws to facilitate recovery efforts in Haiti following the country’s catastrophic 2010 earthquake, Lee has forcefully defended the U.S. humanitarian program that protects some 60,000 Haitians living in the United States.  

Her at-times lone dissenting votes for peace—including her vote against broad authorization for military force following the 9/11 attacks, and her vote against the invasion of Iraq in 2002—has made her an international role model and inspired generations of anti-war activists. 

In 2021, she made history as the first Black lawmaker to chair the powerful House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees all U.S. foreign aid and the State Department. 

Fundación Mi Sangre

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Juanes

ON BEHALF OF

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Catalina Cock

ON BEHALF OF

 

WOLA is honoring Fundación Mi Sangre for its commitment and leadership in lifting up new generations that are committed to a culture of peace in Colombia. 

Since 2006, Fundación Mi Sangre has been training a new generation of young activists and leaders who are working together to build peace and communities of care across Colombia. 

From connecting former combatants, victims of the conflict, artists and business leaders; to get-out-the-vote efforts and other civic engagement trainings; to campaigns calling attention to landmine victims and youths at risk for recruitment by armed groups, Fundación Mi Sangre empowers young Colombians to become agents for peace and change.

Founder and musician Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez, known professionally as Juanes, and director Catalina Cock will accept the award on behalf of Fundación Mi Sangre.