April 26, 2020 - Independent Guåhan (IG) invites the public to attend its April General Assembly (GA), which will take place ONLINE through the group’s Facebook page on Thursday, April 30th from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the world, with to date, more than 2 million sick. From Guam, we have seen a variety of responses to this crisis, from countries that have both effectively combated and contained the virus, and others where the virus has spread and resulted in a significant loss of life. In a crisis such as this, we on Guam are reminded of the importance of sovereignty, or the basic ability to self-govern and seek to dictate our place in the world and relationships to others.
As the world waits to see if things will soon return to normal or will forever be changed, it is imperative that we in Guam, reflect on our current territorial status, and the advantages and disadvantages it represents in a dire moment such as this. For the educational discussion for its April GA, the group will discuss how being a US territory has helped Guam in terms of dealing with a pandemic outbreak, but what ways it may have also inhibited or restricted potential strategies. As a model nation, the group will discuss Palau’s response to COVID-19.
As an independent nation, that is also freely associated with the US, Palau has been able to use its sovereignty to work closely with neighboring Asian countries, as well as the US. Palau has received financial support in this crisis from international bodies as well as the US, while working with its allies such as Taiwan in obtaining COVID-19 testing equipment and personal protective equipment. The General Assembly will highlight what Guam can learn from other independent Pacific nations that have been able to use their sovereignty to adapt to dynamic situations and also make up for a lack of health care facilities.
Each month Independent Guåhan honors a different individual as Maga’taotao, because of their contributions to Guam History, movements for Chamoru empowerment or decolonization. For April, Independent Guåhan will honor the late Amanda Guzman Shelton, a prewar nurse and a Chamoru health care pioneer. Shelton played an important role prior to the war in adapting western medicine to meet the needs of the Chamoru community and stole supplies from the Japanese during World War II to help sick Chamorus. Her grandchildren Senator Amanda Shelton and Austin Shelton of the Center for Island Sustainability will join the GA to discuss their grandmother’s legacy.
For more information, please contact Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua at (671) 988-7106, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.independentguahan.com.