Choices: Death, Life and Migration
This book reflects fifty years of experiences in Guatemala and more recently, my work with refugees from Guatemala and other Central American countries fleeing corrupt governments and violence from international drug cartels.
All royalties from the sale of this book will go to two immigrant rights organizations: The Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice in Oregon and the American Friends Service Committee's U.S .- based immigrant rights programs.
“Pat Rumer shows us what accompaniment in Guatemala means in the long haul: 50 years of intimate stories spanning from the U.S.-backed government oppression of the [1970’s and 80’s] to the migrations of today. You can't come out of this small book without a better political and humanitarian understanding of what faces the world in the 21st century.”
Todd Miller, author of Border Patrol Nation and Storming the Wall
Pat is interested in doing presentations based on the book and current immigration work.
For many of us in this country la vida cotidiana (everyday life) is taken for granted. We enjoy a roof over
our heads, food on the table, being with family at the end of the day, and living in a peaceful community.
For the last four generations of Guatemalans, that has not been the case, especially for the indigenous
people residing throughout the coastal regions and the tropical highlands. Displacement, torture, threats, even
massacres rooted in the oppressive military regime of the 1980’s – actions to disable entire communities – are
now the purview of drug cartels and crime syndicates.
In Choices: Death, Life and Migration, author Patricia Rumer, PhD, introduces us through poetry and rich
profiles to people compelled to make difficult decisions: to stay or to leave their homeland, find refuge, and to
secure solace, peace, and well-being for their families.
Among them are the courageous Ixil women, victorious plaintiffs in a genocide case against General
Efraín Ríos Montt. There is Santiago, a community leader in Santa Maria Tzejá, wondering who will stay and
rebuild the country as the exodus pa norte of teens grows daily. Young mothers, now housed in shelters on the
U.S./Mexican border, refugees from the violence in their own homes and communities – hope for asylum but fear
deportation. Over two million refugees/immigrants now make Oregon their home.
Dr. Rumer, a former professor at Portland State University, is a lifelong activist and educator, whose love
and understanding for the Guatemalan people began in 1969 as a community development volunteer with the
American Friends Service Committee working in a rural highland K’iche-speaking community.
As a Witness for Peace observer in 1993, she accompanied Guatemalan refugees, displaced by the
1980’s internal armed conflict, on their return from Mexico to Guatemala (1993, 1995). In 2013, Dr. Rumer was a
member of the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission (USA) to investigate the impact of the genocide decision
on Guatemalan human rights defenders. In 2016, she witnessed the Sepur Zarco trial in which a Guatemalan
judge convicted two former military officers of crimes against humanity on counts of rape, murder, and slavery in
1982-1988. Since then, she has continued to observe, investigate, and educate others about social justice,
human rights, and ways to ensure a just U.S. immigration policy. She currently serves on the AFSC International
Programs Executive Committee with a focus on Central America migration issues.
Choices: Death, Life and Migration ends with several pages of informative resources on Guatemala
and immigration and border issues. Proceeds from the sale of the book are dedicated to the Interfaith Movement
for Immigrant Justice in Oregon (IMiRJ) and the American Friends Service Committee’s U.S.-based immigrant