September 5, 2002
rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize
winner speaks at CSUS
civil rights leader and 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta
Menchu Tum will talk at California State University, Sacramento
at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 18. The event is co-sponsored by the
CSUS Multi-Cultural Center.
Like many other countries in South and Central America, Guatemala
has experienced great tension between the descendants of European
immigrants and the native Indian population. At a very young age,
Menchu Tum - a native Mayan - got involved in social reform activities
and became prominent in the women's rights movement.
After a guerilla organization established itself in their area,
the Menchu family was accused of taking part in guerrilla activities
and Rigoberta's father was imprisoned and tortured for allegedly
having participated in the execution of a local plantation owner.
After his release, he joined the newly founded Committee of the
In 1979, Rigoberta also joined the Peasant Union. Because of her
work as an activist for the native people she also had to flee Guatemala
for Mexico. That year her brother was arrested, tortured and killed
by the army. The following year, her father was killed when security
forces in the capital stormed the embassy where he and some other
peasants were staying. Shortly afterwards, her mother also died
after having been arrested, tortured and raped.
In 1983, Tum told her life story in the book, I, Rigoberta Menchu
which attracted considerable international attention. In 1987, she
was the narrator of a film called When Mountains Tremble,
a documentary about the struggles of the Mayan people.
"Rigoberta grew up in poverty, in a family which has undergone
the most brutal suppression and persecution," the Norwegian
Nobel Committee wrote when they gave her the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize.
"In her social and political work, she has always borne in
mind that the long-term objective of the struggle is peace.
"And today, Rigoberta stands out as a vivid symbol of peace
and reconciliation across ethnic, cultural and social dividing lines,
in her own country and in the world," the committee wrote.
Tickets for Menchu Tum's talk are $20 general admission and $10
for students. Tickets are available at the CSUS Tickets Office at
278-4323 and at Tickets.com at (916) 766-2277. For additional media
assistance contact CSUS public affairs at (916) 278-6156.