Last month, Los Angeles communities kicked off our summer of grassroots organizing and celebration with the first “house party” of the season hosted by the inspiring collective and cultural space, Eastside Cáfe in El Sereno. Local organizers came together with LA cultural performers and families to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the community consultation movement in Guatemala to defend land and life against resource extraction. Together with music, dance, poetry and ritual, we celebrated the ancestral decision-making practices that have been honored and held at the center of the movements for self-determination across Guatemala.

Lead organizer, Natasha Kerr, expressed her involvement with June’s event:

“Volunteering with NISGUA allows me to reconnect with my Guatemalan roots. I feel energized to build community and defend our Mother Earth along with our brothers and sisters in Guatemala. I feel part of a movement that transcends borders and is creating a new path for future generations.”

Women from Grupo Folklorico Mi Bella Guatemala perform a
ceremonial dance at the event in Los Angeles.
Photo credit: Claudia Hernandez

Between performances, NISGUA was honored to teleconference with community leader and former political prisoner, Rubén Herrera, who helped to organize the community consultation in Barillas, Huehuetenango. Rubén Herrera spoke about the current situation of criminalization and detention of leaders in the region and called for international solidarity with their struggle. The LA community responded with messages of encouragement to the eight political prisoners from Huehuetenango who have been unjustly imprisoned because of their leadership in defending their land, culture, and communities.

One supporter writes, “We are at an event in Los Angeles, California, educating our North American community about your struggle and commitment. Together, we call for your freedom and for justice in Guatemala.”

Special thanks to Grupo Folklorico Mi Bella Guatemala, Trés Generaciones, Fidél Sanchez, and Jóvenes en Resistencia for your beautiful contributions to the event. For some photos please visit our FB album here.

Just two days after the kick-off to our summer of house parties, one of our participants on the 2015 Rivers For Life delegation also held an intimate gathering of family and friends for a report back just outside of LA. Accompanied by beautiful photos and an engaging conversation on how the history of imperialism and U.S. policy continues to shape the current realities for Guatemala, the event answered calls by our partners at ACODET that delegates return to their homes and communities to share their experiences visiting and learning with the communities in resistance to the Xalalá Dam.

The next community event is planned for tomorrow, Friday July 11, 4:30pm-7:30pm, at Sun Rise Restaurant in San Francisco, CA. Please see the event page on FB for more details or email We are still hoping more U.S. cities will participate in this season of grassroots community building. For support in planning your event, please email megan

[AT], and we will provide you with all the tools you may need for a successful and meaningful house party this summer!