Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Faninayan Meetings



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Independence for Guåhan Task Force launches Fanhita Campaign
Continues educational outreach by discussing security threats to Guam and Singapore as a possible model for independence.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016 – The Independence for Guåhan Task Force held its second General Assembly on September 22nd at the main pavilion of the Chamorro Village in Hagåtña. More than 70 people gathered to listen to information presentations, pay tribute to a Chamorro educational pioneer and also help coordinate small family and organization-based conversations meant to diversify the ways in which we educate our community about decolonization and independence.
The meeting opened with a tribute to Dr. Bernadita Camacho-Dungca, the Chamorro linguist and indigenous rights activist, best known for her writing the Inifresi who passed away earlier this year. The Inifresi calls on the people of Guam to pledge to protect and defend the precious natural and cultural resources of their island. It was in this spirit that this month’s meeting focused on various ways in which these core elements of our lives are being threatened by Guam’s use as a strategic base by the United States. Guam’s media and elected leaders often portray the US bases on island as keeping us safe, however in her educational presentation Victoria Leon Guerrero, co-chair of the Independence for Guåhan Task Force, challenged that idea. By weaving together statements from military commanders and government officials in Asia, she argued that any current threats to Guam are not aimed at the island or the people themselves, but rather the US military presence. A presence, that as an unincorporated territory, Guam has no formal authority over.
Co-chair of the Educational Development Committee Ana Won Pat-Borja conducted the first in a monthly series of educational presentations on independent nations that Guam could use as examples on its own quest for self-governance. Singapore, one of the Four Asian Tigers and widely considered to be one of the richest countries in the world was selected given that it is an island and is slightly larger than Guam in terms of land mass.
The meeting concluded with Co-Chair of the Campaigns Committee Melvin Won Pat-Borja introducing the Fanhita initiative, which aims to bring the Task Force’s educational outreach directly into the homes and offices of Guam. In addition to offering education through public meetings such as this, the Task Force is also offering to organize educational conversations called faninåyan with smaller groups that are organized by interested members of the community. The meeting ended several dozen individuals committing to organizing their family or co-workers to host such a gathering.
The Independence for Guåhan Task Force will continue to host general assemblies every month, in addition to other outreach activities, thus providing a regular forum for the community to ask questions, obtain information and sign up to promote decolonization and independence for the island. The next General Assembly Meeting will take place October 27th at the Main Pavilion in the Chamorro Village.

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