The following is a statement from Susan R. Gelman, President of the Goldman Environmental Foundation:
“One year ago, our family of Goldman Prize winners lost one of our own. Berta Cáceres, an indigenous Lenca woman and leader of the Honduran NGO Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras (COPINH), was shot and killed at her home in La Esperanza. She had long been targeted by development interests for her work to protect the Gualcarque River and its surrounding communities from the Agua Zarca dam. Her death was an immeasurable loss to her family, to all of us at the Goldman Environmental Foundation, to her colleagues at COPINH, and to grassroots activists around the world who stand at the frontlines of climate change and destructive development projects.
Out of this tragedy, however, we witnessed an outpour of solidarity from all corners of the world. Crowds chanting “Berta didn’t die, she multiplied” and “Berta Cáceres ¡Presente!” filled the streets, from Tegucigalpa to London to Washington, DC. Images of Berta’s smile and #BertaVive flooded the internet. Those voices were heard; as a result of growing outrage from the international community, major funders have since announced their withdrawal from the Agua Zarca dam.
There is much that still needs to be done. Agua Zarca still remains viable, and we have yet to see a full investigation and prosecution of those responsible for her murder. Though March 2 marks the anniversary of a profound tragedy, it is a day to honor and celebrate the legacy of Berta Cáceres. It is a day to renew our resolve to continue Berta’s and our fight to protect our environment and its courageous guardians. We carry on with heavy hearts, filled not with sadness but with determination and what Berta called the best form of resistance: joy.”
ATTENTION EDITORS: Background information, photographs, and video footage of Berta Cáceres are available online: www.goldmanprize.org/berta
Emily Nauseda, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-277-4903
Jenny Park, email@example.com, 415-249-5800
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