April 2, 2019
A special reflection from AJS Co-Founders Kurt Ver Beek and Jo Ann Van Engen
Last Friday, President Trump instructed the State Department to cut off all aid to Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala in response to the caravans traveling to the United States.
We are devastated by this decision. In the last 5 years, AJS has worked so hard to find ways to decrease violence and strengthen Honduran institutions. These efforts are creating a safer Honduras where people won’t feel the need to leave. AJS staff has been instrumental in purging and restructuring the police, in calling for the arrest and extradition of drug traffickers, and in revamping the public health and education systems. This work has been difficult and complicated but we have made so much progress. Cutting these US funds, which support the work we and many others do, jeopardizes all the hard-fought progress we have made.
This progress is the work of brave committed Hondurans who are risking their lives to build a better country, where Hondurans don’t feel the need to flee. The possibility that we may lose all the progress we have worked so hard to achieve, is infuriating and counterproductive and so very sad. We strongly believe it is wrong and short-sighted. In the words of Blanca Munguia, AJS Director of the Social Sector:
When I heard the news, I felt so sad. My thoughts immediately went to our beneficiaries – the children, mothers, and families we work with and in whom we invest through our community programs. It would be a shame considering that these resources are used in programs that help people grow in their communities, and improve education and health.
-Blanca Munguía, AJS-Honduras Director of the Social Sector
We know from years of experience that justice and systemic reform do not happen overnight, they take time and patience. However, we have already begun to harvest the fruit of this work: homicides are down by over 50% in five years, Honduran kids are getting over 200 days of class a year, a former first lady and many other “untouchables” are in jail on corruption charges.
But, we also know that this progress is fragile and must be nurtured, so we have made good, solid plans for how to continue pushing for reform.
We have so much work yet to do, but without funds, our work and progress in Honduras is in grave jeopardy.
Today we need you now more than ever. Will you join with us in solidarity and in faith that Honduras can continue to change? There a number of ways you can help: Send in a gift, write a note to our staff in Honduras, share a message of solidarity on Facebook, forward this message. Show our team in Honduras that we are with them in seeking justice in Honduras.
Thank you for your trust and your commitment.
Que Dios le bendiga,
Kurt Ver Beek and Jo Ann Van Engen
Next week, former Ambassador to Honduras James Nealon will be addressing this topic at the AJS celebration of justice event. We still have several tables available – consider attending and inviting others in your community to join you to continue this conversation! RVSP today.
A visual way you can show your support is to add this temporary frame (left) to your Facebook profile picture.