JANUARY 9, 1959


Raised in the K’iche’ (pr. Quiche’) branch of the Mayan culture, Rigoberta, while still a teen, became involved in social reform and womens’ rights activities.  During the Guatemalan Civil War, along with her father, she joined the Peasant Unity Committee of the Peasant Union (CUC).  Over the next few years, security forces killed her brother, father, and mother.  In 1981, she fled to Mexico where she organized resistance while in exile.  In 1983, her life story and resulting book, I, Rigoberta Menchú, attracted international attention.  Her lifelong efforts on behalf of her people and women led to her receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 and Prince of Asturias Award in 1998.  Lastly, her efforts resulted in Spain calling for extradition from Guatemala of seven former members of Guatemala’s government on charges of genocide and torture in 2006. In 2015, a Guatemalan court convicted a former police commander of murder and other crimes for his role in an embassy attack, in which her father died.

Sources:  "Rigoberta Menchú Tum – Biographical," Nobelprize.org., 2013.  Retrieved 6/5/2019, https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1992/tum/biographical/. "Spain seeks Guatemalan ex-rulers," BBC News, 12/23/2006. Retrieved 6/5/2019, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6205327.stm. "Nobel winner seeks presidency," The Herald, 2/23/2007.  Retrieved 6/5/2019, https://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-herald-1130/20070223/282067682471194
Photo:  Public domain. Retrieved 6/11/2019, http://people.brandeis.edu/~dwilliam/profiles/tum.htm.

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