For Immediate Release, October 21, 2019 - Independent Guåhan (IG) invites the public to attend their upcoming General Assembly (GA) to take place on Thursday, October 24th from 6:00-7:30 pm at the Main Pavilion of the Chamorro Village in Hagåtña. This month’s GA will commemorate the more than a century of petitions by the Chamoru people for improvements in their political status. In this spirit, the group will honor as Maga’taotao the late Senator Francisco R. Santos, a long-serving local leader.
Within months of the US takeover of Guam in 1898, the Chamoru people were already politely requesting improvements in their political status. Dozens of petitions were sent to the US Congress and the US Navy prior to World War II, some bearing thousands of signatures asking that the US improve the political status of the Chamoru people, whether by granting US citizenship or providing for local self-government. Since the end of World War II, this tradition has continued, with community members and elected leaders continuing to travel to Washington D.C. but also the United Nations.
Earlier this month a delegation of young activists and elected leaders from Guam traveled to New York to testify before the Fourth Committee to request support in the island’s movement for decolonization. The first of these UN delegations was organized in 1982 by members of the group Organization of the Rights for Indigenous People (OPIR). In the decades since more than 60 Chamorus and other allies have testified before different bodies within the United Nations. Thursday’s GA will talk about the importance of these types of petitions through history and why current generations should keep up this tradition of telling Guam’s story to national and international audiences.
With this history of advocacy in mind, IG will honor for its monthly Maga’taotao the late Francisco R. Santos, who served his community as Sinajana commissioner, a senator in I Liheslaturan Guåhan and also a member of the Guam Commission on Self-Determination. He spoke out passionately in support of Guam’s movement to Commonwealth at Congressional hearings in 1989 arguing that “For too long, external factors have limited the opportunities self-governance promises. Now is the time! We ask this committee and the Congress for Commonwealth Now!” More on his accomplishments will be presented during the GA by his daughter Vera de Oro. Independent Guåhan is proud to honor Senator Santos and his legacy.
For more information, please contact Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua at (671) 988-7106, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.independentguahan.com.