Angelica Quintero is part of the Truth, Memory and Reconciliation Commission of Colombian Women in the Diaspora (TMRC). The initiative brings together women in London and Barcelona to share their stories and memories of conflict and migration, and to claim a voice in Colombia’s peace process.
Ingrid Guyon/Conciliation Resources
I was born in Buga, a town in the Cauca Valley, a region where the sun shines all year long, where Salsa moves everyone’s hips and the Pacific Ocean blesses you. I have been always a migrant, always travelling and exploring, but London has managed to enchant me with its multiple faces.
I arrived eight years ago to study and to stay, at least for a while. At that time, I felt Colombia hostile and distant to whom I was. But life is humble and it will always give you a deeper and broader perspective of things you once thought were definitive.
For that reason, I found myself looking for my roots and on this path, the Truth, Memory and Reconciliation Commission was the perfect reencounter with Colombia: it gave me a strong, challenging and very real taste of the country I left, but it also prized me with a loving, generous and life-changing experience.
The Commission has been a door to a gifted world, a world of art and politics, creativity and self-expression. But most of all, a world in which it is possible to contribute to peacebuilding for my own country from abroad.
Peace does not have borders and we do not stop being Colombians when we’re not living at home. Distance shouldn’t be a reason for not actively contributing to the achievement of peace in one’s homeland.
This is precisely why, despite being a migrant, I am today part of a project that looks to burst disruptively into the political landscape of Colombia through the empowerment of ordinary citizens; within Colombia, and amongst Colombians abroad.
This project has been challenging, but we have been blessed with the strength of those brave and determined leaders from the most difficult and forgotten regions of my country. Despite putting their lives at risk every day, they are still willing to give everything to achieve a more peaceful country. There is much to learn from them.
There are still so many more things to do, many more stories to share, and much more to create. But, for now, I want to leave this note thanking the Commission for all it has given us, for the photographs and for this space that allows to us express who we are.