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UU Service

Lucina Kathmann Atencion

By Patricia Browne Hirschl

At this Sunday’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Service, Lucina Kathmann, a longtime San Miguel resident and worldwide advocacy activist, discusses her primary passion and vocation as a witness for the voiceless by shining light on the work of writers silenced for their words or culture.

For the past 14 years, she has served as a Vice President of PEN International, the world’s leading association of writers working to promote literature and defend freedom of expression everywhere. The London-based organization connects an international community of writers from more than 100 countries via its 149 worldwide centers.

To illustrate her message, Kathmann will read from her recent book, Private Spaces, Public Places: A Woman at Home in the World, a pool of stories collected in 31 years of advocacy published this year in both English and Spanish. Her crusade for human rights has included defense of women poets of Mesopotamia and a successful advocacy for Esber Yagmurdereli, a blind Turkish playwright imprisoned for a speech criticizing the Turkish Government’s treatment of the Kurdish minority. After 23 years in prison, during which Lucina led the PEN campaign for his release, free-citizen Esber took Lucina on a boat ride on the Bosphorus Strait of Istanbul.

Since 1996, she has represented PEN every year at the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Lucina’s passion for free speech took her to Kurdistan when it was still a war zone, over the anxious protests of family and friends. There she heard Kurdish PEN members bemoan the suppression of their language and their work. No bullets flew, but she sampled sheep’s brains, ladled out with a spoon, but was spared the eyeball, a special treat, when the president of Kurdish PEN saw her squeamishness at the proffered honor. Last month, she was in Apatzingán, Michoacán, listening to horror stories about the state of free speech in that troubled territory. Families live in fear of the narcos in control, who trample on human rights with impunity.

Lucina is a writer, dancer, math teacher, choral singer, and a widowed mother of eight. She is the author of a novel, multiple essays, children’s books, math texts, and a public speaker in English and Spanish, with brief flurries of French and German. Special music is by Joan Elena Goldberg and William Henderson, and the service pianist is Paula Peace.

The UU Fellowship meets every Sunday at 10:30am at Posada de Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15, and welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The room is wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit our website at


UU Service

“Giving Voice to the Silenced”

By Lucina Kathmann

Sun, Sep 10, 10:30am

Posada de la Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15


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