The University of California, Merced, is pleased to honor Rigoberta Menchú Tum as the 12th distinguished recipient of the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance.
She will accept her award at a ceremony open to all beginning at 6 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Art Kamangar Center at the Merced Theater.
Menchú Tum’s service to social justice dates back to her teenage years, when she joined social reform activities and became prominent in the women's rights movement. Her activism drew opposition and her family was accused of taking part in guerrilla activities, punished and killed. Menchú Tum has lived for years in exile in Mexico, where she taught herself English, Spanish and some Mayan languages, helped lead farm-worker strikes and demonstrations and helped teach the indigenous peasant population to resist massive military oppression. Her work as an organizer of efforts to resist oppression in Guatemala and an advocate for indigenous peoples’ rights earned her a Nobel Peace Prize in 1992, and the Prince of Asturias Award in 1998.
She is the author of the autobiographical work “Crossing Borders.” Menchú Tum is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and ran for president of Guatemala in 2007 and 2011. She also narrated a film about the struggles of the Maya called “When the Mountains Tremble” and is the subject of a book entitled “I, Rigoberta Menchú.” She returns sometimes to Guatemala to plead the cause of the indigenous peasants, but death threats keep her in exile.
The event is free, but reservations are required at: http://bit.ly/Spendlove2018