The story of Guam Women Warriors

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Director JulieHera DeStefano said that during her time in Afghanistan she interviewed a number of women from Guam, and says she was inspired by their stories and their love for the island.

As an initiative to give a voice to our servicewomen, Humanities Guahan put together a project called Guam Women Warriors to tell their story.

Guam Women Warriors is an online oral history project that focuses on women who are currently serving and have formerly served in the military.

Bernice Santiago, program and communications coordinator tells PNC that this project allows the community to follow the journey of five women through an online immersive experience that ranges from stories as far back as the 1980s to the present.

“We’re starting with their stories of entering into the military service and training … so say bootcamp or an early training program and we are going to be following their journeys. Every week, we’re going to be adding on stories through training, through active duty and deployment, through coming home, and, in some cases, deploying again. And we wanted to give people an immersive experience whether they’re starting from 1989 or they’re starting from the year 2000 and they’re experiencing the journeys along with the women,” Santiago said.

Every Wednesday, the website will unveil a new story. According to Santiago, the stories originated from oral history interviews, which she hopes to preserve in a unique narrative.

By sharing their stories, perspectives and realities, Humanities Guahan says the goal of the project is to deepen the community’s understanding of women’s military and wartime experiences, as well as their experiences of coming home.

On Wednesday, Sept. 4, Humanities Guåhan officially launched the Guam Women Warriors website. As part of the launch, they hosted a reception at the Guam Museum, followed by a film screening and discussion of the documentary Journey to Normal: Women of War Come Home, with director JulieHera DeStefano!

Journey to Normal chronicles the lives of eight women who served in the combat zone, from the front lines of Afghanistan through the first two years of reintegration.

DeStefano shared with PNC that during her time in Afghanistan she interviewed a number of women from Guam, and says she was inspired by their stories and their love for the island.

“The love and passion that they have for this place and for the people of this place and for their families … something as simple as uttering the single syllable Guam … just the love that came with that and the strong desire they had to represent this island … in the best light possible and to do their absolute best to be the representative of this incredibly beautiful place that was so important to them … was really beautiful! It’s one of the main reasons why for years I have so wanted to come here,” DeStefano said.

The project is made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and local support from various organizations. This launch event is also presented as part of the 75th Anniversary of Guam’s Liberation.

Humanities Guåhan is a non-profit organization that provides foundational support and educational programs for the people of Guam. For more information, contact them 472-4460 or email [email protected]

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