Sara Curruchich is the first Kaqchikel woman to make it big in the music industry.
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Assembly

2 May 2019 | Volume 1, Issue 21
  A note from our guest editor:
Saludos Assembly readers! I’m Emma, the student and editorial intern who has been helping deliver Assembly to your inboxes over the last few months.

What drew me to Assembly was my love for storytelling, for galvanising girls around the world and for pursuing work with meaning. I believe in the extraordinary quality of passion. It pushes us to be our best selves, defy odds, change our communities and follow our dreams. As you can see in each edition of Assembly (and particularly in this one), passion drives girls and young women to amazing feats.

Today, I’m excited for you to meet 25-year-old Sara Curruchich, a Kaqchikel singer-songwriter from rural Guatemala. Through her music, Sara addresses systemic discrimination against Indigenous women like her. I spoke with Sara about her experience as the first Kaqchikel woman to make it big in the music industry and her determination to make space for other Indigenous artists. Having lived in Guatemala City myself for six years, this piece has a special place in my coraz√≥n.

Also in this issue, 13-year-old Eva from Ireland tells us why she loves being a Girl Guide and we invite you to describe an activity you love for a chance to be featured in an upcoming issue. As the Indian elections take place, girls (and first-time voters!) across the country discuss what issues they want leaders to address. And a new statistic sheds light on the lack of female representation in parliaments around the world.

After working on Assembly each week, I often leave the office pinching myself. I am so grateful to be living out my passion as part of a global network of game-changing girls and women.

I hope you enjoy reading this issue.
Emma
 
 
Q&A
 
 
 
Melodies of resistance in Guatemala: the Kaqchikel artist speaking out through song
Sara
  By Emma Yee Yick
When Sara Curruchich sings, she sings not only for herself but also for the generations of Indigenous women who came before her and the generations that will come after her. Sara is Kaqchikel, a Mayan peoples native to the midwestern highlands of Guatemala. Through her music, she celebrates her Indigenous heritage and highlights her female ancestors’ resilience in the face of oppression.

“I didn’t want to repeat everything that I heard on the radio,” says the 25-year-old artist of her music. Sara hopes her songs will challenge what Guatemalan society expects of Indigenous women and reaffirm their value. “We have a triple discrimination: for being women, for being Indigenous women, and for being Indigenous women who are poor,” she shares.

Ahead of the release of her first studio album, “Somos” [“We Are”], in June, I spoke to Sara about celebrating her heritage, the creative process of songwriting and how she supports other Indigenous voices.

Emma Yee Yick (EYY): What type of artist do you consider yourself to be? What genre of music do you produce?
Sara Curruchich (SC):
Last year I recorded my first album. I have yet to share it, but I hope that we will in June. They have categorized us underneath the genre “world music” or “ethno-music,” because I have tried to make that fusion between traditional Guatemalan music and contemporary instruments and sounds.

I sing in my language, Kaqchikel. At the start, I wrote my first song in Kaqchikel with a certain amount of fear, because for structural reasons, there is that racism that is rooted in our country. I began to sing in my language and write and compose because I saw a necessity and an importance to rescue our languages, my language specifically, through music. Music induces reflection maybe more than when you speak to a child about its importance. If they listen and see someone else doing it [singing in Kaqchikel], they think that they can do it too and that they have a right to do it. They understand that it’s not bad and can begin to see the value again.

EYY: How do you hope your music impacts Indigenous girls and women in your community?
SC:
I believe and feel that something I want to share through music is that strength that women have had — our abuelas and ancestras — when having to fight against those structural inequities. Against machismo, against racism, against this patriarchal system that subjects us, that denies us our rights as women as Indigenous women. Teaching this to girls is so important.

We have been able to go on a small music tour through our communities and I have been able to see the impact it has on young girls. They begin to understand that they have that right to dream, to hope. To be able to share that is a huge gift. Knowing that between all of us, as women and as Indigenous, that we are not alone. We know that we will not be the first and most probably will not be the last, but that we are together in this fight.

Read more.
 
 
Reader spotlight
 
 
Eva
“I, like so many other young girls, am growing up in a society that is putting increasing pressure on girls to be perfect. For this reason, my favorite activity is Girl Guides because we learn how to strive in a pressured society by developing important life skills such as leadership, confidence and communication skills — all while enjoying ourselves and uniting as a group of girls. We have also learned about the importance of voting, gender equality, stress management and survival skills all in a non-competitive and inclusive environment.”
— 13-year-old Assembly reader Eva from Ireland on why she loves being a Girl Guide
 
We love seeing our Assembly readers in action. Submit a photo of yourself doing your favourite activity and tell us why it’s important to you. We’ll be publishing a few submissions in an upcoming issue!
 
 
 
Sound off! 
 
 
 
As India holds its largest election in history, 10 girls discuss the issues that matter to them
India elections
 
  A wave of young voters is hitting the polls for the first time as India holds its largest election in history. Since the last Indian election in 2014, 45 million people have turned 18 and are now eligible to vote. For a country with 600 million youth under the age of 25, this moment is an opportunity for young voters to weigh in on the issues they care about and shape India’s future.

Ten girls from across India — four of whom will be voting for the first time — told us about the changes they hope to see in their country.

The election began on 11 April 2019 and takes place over five weeks to accommodate for more than 900 million eligible voters. Before it concludes on 19 May 2019, hear from girls and young women about their hopes for their country’s future.
“Elections are both a choice and a chance. It is a chance to be a part of decisions that will affect everyone for the next five years. It is a choice to create political, national and environmental change country-wide. Changes like uplifting women in men-dominating fields like politics, sciences, and defense.”
— Rashi, age 17

“This will be the first time I cast my vote. I would want the winning party to focus on issues like unequal pay to women even when they are doing the same work as men.”
— Preeti, age 20

“As the youth of a transforming nation who are fighting prejudices every day, I want a serious reform in our country's education system, better healthcare accessibility, increased youth participation in governance and safer streets for the daughters of India.”
— Stuti, age 21
 
 
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  Assembly publishes original work by girls, for girls. And we would love to include your voice! Send us your ideas and you could be featured in the next issue.
 
 
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