A Message of Solidarity from USFUVG

June 4, 2020

Dear USFUVG Friends,

The world has experienced several significant challenges lately, affecting our physical and mental health, our economy, our health system, and more recently, our values on social equality.  The brutal and disturbing deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, and others before them, as well as the racist confrontation in Central Park directed toward Christian Cooper, have shaken our society, demanding equality and justice to address the long-standing structural and systemic discriminatory attitudes and actions in the United States.   

As an organization that works with educators and supports students of different cultures, we have the responsibility to pass on the value of diversity and inclusion to students and their communities. USFUVG works to create a more equitable educational system by facilitating access to education for students from marginalized backgrounds. In 2019, we helped fund 189 student scholarships in the Highlands Campus, where most students are of indigenous descent. With additional support from the University of the Valley of Guatemala (UVG), over 95% of students in this campus received scholarships and financial aid.

USFUVG is committed to providing an environment free of all forms of discrimination and condemns targeted acts of violence. Internally, we have an anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy that defines behavior expectations and establishes no tolerance from any type of discrimination. UVG and the American School of Guatemala/South Campus also have core values that include non-discrimination policies with regard to ethnicity, gender, religion, and sexual orientation or identity. Their commitment to equality extends to the classroom with courses in gender bias, ethics and global citizenship and is evident in the diversity of their student bodies. More importantly, we are all strong advocates of supporting students from lower socio-economic backgrounds and indigenous descent. We will continue to make every effort to empower marginalized individuals in an inclusive environment.

We must stand together to fight and eradicate a history of racism and injustice in order to build an egalitarian and fair society. We believe that access to education is one way to make progress toward this better society, and we appreciate your generosity in supporting the education of students from all backgrounds in Guatemala.

Sincerely,

A. Lorena Passarelli, Ph.D.
President, U.S. Foundation of the University of the Valley of Guatemala

Peg Willingham
Vice-President, U.S. Foundation of the University of the Valley of Guatemala

Leslie Jenkins Reed
Executive Director, U.S. Foundation of the University of the Valley of Guatemala