“Accompaniment embodies solidarity and can promote social justice in unique ways”: Heidi Mitton on her time with PBI-Colombia
As Peace Brigades International approaches its 40th anniversary in 2021, we are sharing the reflections of past volunteers from Canada who accompanied at-risk defenders in various PBI project countries over the years.
Heidi Mitton, who lives in Nova Scotia, accompanied defenders through the Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project for 18 months beginning in June 2015.
Heidi tells us: “Working with PBI Colombia was a very humbling and inspiring experience. I had the honour of meeting and working with human rights and environmental defenders in many different settings. I was motivated to work with PBI because I feel international accompaniment embodies solidarity and can promote social justice in unique ways, as well as build relationships between communities. I am very grateful for the time I spent with social leaders in Colombia.”
Prior to her time with PBI, Heidi also participated in a six-month internship in Cochabamba, Bolivia in 2007-08.
And in May 2012, Heidi wrote about growing up in rural Nova Scotia, remembering the Westray mine disaster (that killed 26 miners) and reflecting on those memories while accompanying a demonstration in Guatemala City by campesino and indigenous groups opposed to big development projects on their lands.
In December 2015, about six months into her placement in Colombia, Heidi reflected in an interview with PBI-Canada: “[Accompaniment is] a different approach to issues that have their root in international inequality and in our economic and social systems. The relationship building that comes with international accompaniment allows us to promote human rights globally while building networks across borders.”
Please consider making an online donation to PBI-Canada to help us with our continuing outreach efforts to find volunteers to accompany defenders. Accompaniment continues to be critically needed in helping to make space for peace.