Myrna Mack Chang devoted her time to leading the Association for the Advancement of Social Sciences in Guatemala (AVANCSO), and highlighting the Guatemalan army’s abuse and displacement of the Ixil and K’eqchi people during the civil conflict. She collected the testimonies of several survivors of the massacres, and bravely raised awareness about their experiences–in a country where you can be killed for speaking against the state.
As a result of her efforts to share the truth Myrna was stabbed to death in broad daylight in the street on September 11, 1990. Her death was the result of a Guatemalan military intelligence undercover operation.
Since then, Myrna’s sister Helen Mack has worked tirelessly to seek justice for Myrna’s death. Alongside a great group of lawyers, Helen has managed to put all those involved in Myrna’s death in prison, including army and police officers.
Helen founded the Myrna Mack Foundation to provide support and accompaniment related to human rights in Guatemala. She has worked tirelessly to overcome impunity in the Guatemalan justice system, and to make sure police and security forces receive training on how to respect human rights. The Myrna Mack Foundation has also done an excellent job working with cases of violence against women, and has given assistance to hundreds of cases that involve all types of violations against women human’s rights.
Helen has been awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa in Canada in 2014 for her work to improve the Guatemalan justice system and defend women’s rights–all in the face of the same violence that killed her sister Myrna.
To talk about the Mack Chang sisters is to speak about the struggle to shake the sinister structures that govern Guatemala. Myrna and Helen, along with so many other daughters of truth, are examples of living strength.
Andrea joined us in Ottawa for the 2014 Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program. She completed six weeks of communications and advocacy training alongside two young women activists from South Sudan and Sudan. Andrea is now continuing her work to defend women’s rights in Guatemala.