On Wednesday October 13, hundreds tuned in as the Washington D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) honored our partner the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) with their Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award.
“The organization we honor tonight… is an inspiring Garifuna organization that cultivates women’s leadership,” said Opal Tometi, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and associate fellow of IPS, as she presented the award to OFRANEH. “When people of color were flooding the streets in the U.S. crying ‘Black lives matter,’ OFRANEH was standing up to say Garifuna lives matter, too.”
The evening event, streamed online, featured other human rights activists including actor Martin Sheen and Kerry Kennedy, a close friend of the other awardee Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC)’s founder Sister Diana Ortiz.
The event also included cultural celebrations from Garifuna musician Kenet Solano, a close friend and ally of OFRANEH.
“Come Garifuna people, let’s join under the leadership of OFRANEH,” Kenet sang in a pre-recorded video. “Let’s put aside our differences. For our children, let’s not sell our lands. Together with Miriam Miranda, let’s fight for what’s ours.”
Committing to Solidarity
This award comes at a time of deep crisis in Honduras, after a series of coups in 2009 and 2012 and a fraudulent election in 2017. As Opal Tometi continued:
In OFRANEH’s Miriam Miranda’s words:
“It is a time when the State is very clear that it is going to do everything possible to deprive the Garífuna community of its territory to hand it over to investors. That is why we reaffirm that there is a genocidal plan against the Garífuna people.
And that is why we are calling for people to see what is happening in Honduras.”
“All of us here tonight must show up and show support for the brave and critical struggle of OFRANEH and others like it in Honduras,” Opal said.
We join the IPS and human rights activists around the world in celebrating OFRANEH’s continued work for justice and liberation — and reaffirm our commitment to accompanying it through funding, solidarity, and joint action.
Watch the full video of the event below.