8 Stirring Responses to the Murder of Berta Cáceres

by Ryan Schleeter

March 7, 2016

The 2015 Goldman Prize winner’s death has been met with an outpouring of grief, support, and resolution to continue fighting for the change she believed in.

Berta Caceres

Photo by Prachatai / Flickr. Creative Commons.

Last week, indigenous rights and environmental activist Berta Cáceres was murdered in her home in Honduras. Cáceres was the founder of the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras (COPINH) — she herself was Lenca — and won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015 for her leadership in the successful campaign against the Agua Zarca Dam.

Though she had been faced with persistent death threats since the mid-2000s, Cáceres’ murder still sent a shock through the global community. Her death has been met with outrage and mourning from social and environmental justice advocates around the world — including many of our readers.

Cáceres’ tireless activism inspired during her life, and continues to after her death. When we shared the news last week, we were struck by the poignancy and passion our community expressed in response.

Here are some of the most striking messages we received.

“Rest in peace Berta. Hope that your tireless fight against these greedy and heartless thugs continues and will not be in vain. May those who follow in her footsteps find the same courage and success to save what is precious in our world.” — Patrick M.

“This is so sad. She had the courage of her convictions and lived to help her people and protect their environment.” — Lynn S.

“It is not enough to be sorry for her friends and family — we need to think of ways large and small to step into the vacancy left by her murder. We need numbers to begin to make a dent in the arrogance that brings someone to believe that they can kill someone who stands in their way for more profit and power.”

— Mavra S.

“She was an inspiration to us all. She continued her work despite the knowledge certain people and corporations wanted her to stop or else. May we all be that brave.” — Chrisie M.

“I met her years ago in Honduras. She was an inspiration, a woman of tremendous courage and fierce commitment to the people of her country.” — Margaret S.

“To stand up for yourself is admirable. To stand up for those who cannot is heroic. We are sadden [sic] by the loss of you. And happy that you touched so many lives. RIP.”

— Will A.

“We want justice! No longer can we stay silent while our strong female leaders are picked off and persecuted!” — Tristen M.

“Always the strong and the brave. Bless her efforts and may they expand a thousand fold.” — Anita D.

In the end, there are no better words to remember Berta Cáceres by than her own.

Ryan Schleeter

By Ryan Schleeter

Ryan Schleeter is an online content producer and editor of the Greenpeace USA blog. His writing has appeared in National Geographic, Grist, GreenBiz, EcoWatch, and more. Find him on Twitter @ryschlee.

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