Nikhil Aziz

Nikhil Aziz is director of Land, Water and Climate Justice. Before joining AJWS, he was executive director of Grassroots International, which funded social movements for resource rights in the Global South and did advocacy in the United States. Previously, Nikhil was associate director at Political Research Associates, which studied the right wing for the progressive movement. He continues to speak, teach and write on human rights, international development and social change. Nikhil has served on the boards of Africa Today Associates, Massachusetts Asians & Pacific Islanders for Health, MASALA (Massachusetts Area South Asian Lambda Association), Resist, the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, the Human Rights Funders Network, and the Engaged Donors for Global Equity (EDGE Funders).

Coming Out Into a New Reality in India

I came out to my father in 1998, over the phone. He was in Bombay, India. I was in Denver, Colorado. The first thing he said to me, without missing a beat, was: “I’m proud that you’ve decided to not live a lie.” The very next thing he said was: “I wish you’d never told …

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“Our vision is for a more just and equitable society”: Reflections from Guatemala

Nikhil Aziz, Director of Natural Resource Rights at AJWS, visited AJWS’s grantee organizations in Guatemala and has been sharing stories from his travels. Lesbia Morales is in her early 30s. She was the first woman president of AJWS grantee Comité Campesino del Altiplano (CCDA), a grassroots organization of small-scale farmers supported by AJWS. The group works in 11 …

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Women Lead the Struggle for Land: Reflections from Guatemala

Maria Magdalena Xalcut is in her 60s, but she has more energy than most women half her age. She is a member of Comité Campesino del Altiplano – Committee of Peasants of the Highlands (CCDA), a grassroots organization of small-scale farmers supported by AJWS. The group works in 11 regions throughout Guatemala to confront land rights challenges and meet the needs of rural, predominantly Mayan communities.

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Working Together to Save the Chixoy River: Reflections from Guatemala

The day began early. We left at dawn to pick up Eridania “Eri” Martinez, founder of AJWS grantee Puente de Paz, and we traveled to a remote area of Guatemala’s Ixcán region on the Chixoy River. Puente de Paz is a women-led organization that supports smaller community-based organizations like ACODET (Association of Communities for Development, Defense of Territory, and Natural Resource Rights).

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Doña Argentina (center) with leaders of AJWS grantee FPR

“You have guns. We have our voices.”: Reflections from Guatemala

Peten is Guatemala’s Wild West. Throughout its history, this department—similar to a state—was known for its large fincas (plantations) and populated by landless laborers and small farmers, including indigenous people. Many migrants were often encouraged to move to Peten by the government. Despite its bucolic appearance, Peten has been roiled by several volatile conflicts: the drug trade, the battle over the damming of the region’s rivers, and the country’s long civil war.

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The Youth Voices of a Community Radio: Reflections from Guatemala

The Union of Peasant Organizations of the Vera Paz (UVOC) is a movement of indigenous small farmers—mainly of the Q’eqchi’ and Poqomchi’ ethnic groups—that organizes Mayan communities in north-central Guatemala to advocate for their rights to land and traditional territories. Supported by AJWS, UVOC runs a community radio station in Chamtaca, Alta Vera Paz. Gilberto, a young man with a slight frame and a deep baritone, is the station’s voice, a UVOC youth leader and the president of a Mesoamerican regional network of community radios.

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