Cultivating balance to navigate uncertainty

Urgent Action Fund

24 March 2022

Two years have passed since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, a historical event to which governments responded with isolation and confinement mandates. As borders closed, death tolls were increasing. At the Urgent Action Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean (UAF-LAC), we took measures to care and protect ourselves as a team as we continued to accompany our allies and partners who were facing contexts of militarization and surveillance.

A few months after the start of the pandemic we asked ourselves: How long will the measures last? Will the existing crises in our region deepen? Would the urgent struggles and resistances fade into the background, given that the focus of attention is on the containment and response to the virus?

In March 2020, together with Tatiana Cordero, Executive Director of UAF-LAC, we began to reflect and think about what it meant to live in uncertainty. During this time, we listened to her teachings and insights and decided to look beyond uncertainty and to begin to cultivate balance. It has not been an easy path, but we have nurtured ourselves with various strategies. We have found certainties within the organization that allow us to face the changing and volatile world in which we now live, as we continue to support women's, feminist and LBTIQ+ movements in Latin America and the Caribbean.

One of the questions that has guided our purpose during the past two years is: What are the priorities and values we have been aiming for as a society, as humanity? Discussing this question, we made several decisions. We have taken the time to listen to our needs as a team and have paid special attention to the needs of those we support; we know that in each community and territory, the pandemic has been experienced differently.

We allow ourselves to pause, to start again with renewed energies, honoring our path, and the death that has accompanied us very closely during this time. We have had to say goodbye to people who guided us, including Tatiana Cordero, who passed away in April 2021. Her departure implied significant changes internally as an organization as well as within each one of us.

Embracing uncertainty is not easy, but we have practiced the flexibility and adaptability from which Latin America and the Caribbean exist and resist. We have modified and adapted plans, and reflected on what is truly urgent, broadened our criteria for support, and extended deadlines. We recognize ourselves in others and always remember the objectives and goals that brought us to this path; they call us to build other possible worlds. Our commitment to do so has not changed, despite the global upheaval.

It is clear that uncertainty will always be with us, but we also know that it is important to lay foundations that give us balance and calm, especially in these trying times. We have engaged in deep self-reflection and have rediscovered our strengths and weaknesses. We have foundations and pillars that guide and draw paths for us to follow.

We recognize that the paradigm of capital over human life, which prevents equal access to health and a dignified life. It is clear to us those who continue to profit from disease and death, will use this moment to continue to persecute and criminalize those who fight for life and question injustice. Currently, democratic weak spots and fissures are becoming evident, as discrimination, racialization and inequality are normalized within the existing world model.

Collective work allows us to reflect and make a difference. Our collective force is what moves us to a better place, a more equitable and diverse place where care is centered. Community and solidarity contribute to care and open new paths and possibilities.

We believe that it is essential to listen to each other, to understand the differences and similarities in our contexts and to become stronger by sharing knowledge and experiences from the territories we support. We are conscious that the strength of women and organizations allows us to act in different ways, always prioritizing life. Recognizing that the rhythms of life have changed is fundamental and has allowed us to feel calm without putting more pressure on ourselves.

The strength and support we have felt from outside has allowed us to remain connected to daily activities and to the collective resistance. We hope to continue building reflections together with all the people with whom we work and, at the same time, to continue imagining other possible worlds.

Join     the community FAU-AL