Right to Democracy, a new organization focused on confronting the undemocratic colonial framework governing U.S. territories, will be holding its Guam launch event and a series of community dialogues the last week of August as part of the Pacific leg of their listening tour. Co-Presidents Adi Martínez-Román and Neil Weare will be looking to engage the local community and share more about their new approach. The public is invited to attend its Guam launch event at the Hilton Resort & Spa on Monday, August 28th from 5-8 pm. Right to Democracy is also launching an arts competition for students ages 12-17 with the winners to receive cash prizes and have their art shared as part of a national Summit on U.S. Colonialism that Right to Democracy is convening at the Ford Foundation in New York City this Fall. 

“I am excited to get back home and introduce Adi to our amazing community and beautiful island. Guam is leading the way when it comes to conversations about decolonization and self-determination. So we are excited to talk with people about our work and share ideas about how together we can challenge the undemocratic colonial framework that continues to govern the Guam and other territories,” said Neil Weare, who grew up in Guam and led Equally American prior to co-founding Right to Democracy.

“I am looking forward to learning more about communities in Guam and how they have developed under the current political relationship with the United States, and even draw parallels to our own experience in Puerto Rico,” said Adi Martínez Román, who prior to co-founding Right to Democracy led the Resiliency Law Center and FURIA, Inc., two community-based organizations in Puerto Rico.

Right to Democracy is building a movement to confront and dismantle the undemocratic colonial framework that impacts 3.6 million people in U.S. territories - 98% of whom are people of color. Its vision is that people in U.S. territories should have power and agency over the decisions that impact their lives - there should be no colonies or second-class citizens in the United States. Right to Democracy does not take a position on political status, other than to reject the colonial status quo.

Right to Democracy’s Guam launch event will be held at the Hilton Resort & Spa on Monday, August 28th from 5-7pm. The event is free and open to the public - interested people can RSVP here. Right to Democracy will also be holding a series of community dialogues and meetings as well.

As schools open this month, Right to Democracy is also launching an arts competition with the theme “Express yourself: What Democracy means to you.” Students on Guam ages 12-17 are eligible to participate, with submissions due by Tuesday, October 10, 2023. We will be accepting expressive arts pieces, including visual arts, spoken word, and music. We will award one first prize of $500 to the overall winner, $250 for the second place, and $100 for third place.Winning pieces will be shared on Right to Democracy’s social media and website. For more information on the Right to Democracy Arts Competition, see here

“The arts are a powerful way for young people on Guam to express how they feel about complex ideas like democracy, self-determination, and decolonization - these are our future leaders, so we’re very interested in what they think, ” said Sarah Nededog, Right to Democracy’s Community Director on Guam. “It will also be interesting to compare student art between territories.”

Right to Democracy’s Board includes former Lt. Governor Kaleo Moylan and Attorney Vanessa Williams, who is currently the Chair of the Guam Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. 

“Right to Democracy offers a bold new approach to bring each of the territories together in order to challenge the Insular Cases and the undemocratic colonial framework that continues to govern our islands,” said Vanessa Williams.

“Guam can do better than accept an undemocratic and colonial status quo where we do not have a meaningful say in the decisions that impact our lives,” said Kaleo Moylan.

The Guam visit is part of Right to Democracy’s Pacific tour, and follows its Caribbean tour earlier this summer. Right to Democracy’s engagement on the ground in each territory this summer is building towards a national Summit on U.S. Colonialism at the Ford Foundation that will bring together leaders from each of the territories and the diaspora alongside national advocacy organizations and leaders in philanthropy. 

“The goal of the summit is to engage philanthropy in building an ecosystem of organizations from all U.S. territories, their diasporas, and U.S. social justice and advocacy organizations to advance democracy and self-determination for U.S. territories,” said Adi Martínez-Román.

Adi and Neil recently spoke about their work with Right to Democracy on the Fanachu Podcast hosted by Guam Museum Curator Dr. Michael Bevacqua. Right to Democracy also held a virtual event “Typhoons and Hurricanes: Our Shared Experience,” earlier this summer.

For more information on all of this, visit righttodemocracy.us or email [email protected]