Marianne Mollmann is Advocacy Director for the Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch.
I am now in Los Angeles, on the last leg of my road-trip through the United States and Canada with Verónica Cruz, founder and director of the Mexican grassroots advocacy group, Las Libres (The Free Women). Las Libres works for access to safe and legal abortion in the conservative Mexican state of Guanajuato, so it is not surprising that social change - how to create and sustain it - is high on Verónica's agenda.
What might be surprising is that her reflections are universally applicable. Also to the groups that try to generate this change.
"You can't ever afford to get complacent with your work," Verónica told me Tuesday as we left a meeting with community based women's organizations in East Los Angeles. "We must all evaluate the impact our work has on creating durable social change - that's the key factor for doing things right."
In fact, setting priorities and planning for real change has been our main conversation topic throughout the week, from the panel discussion with Verónica and Dolores Huerta (the legendary founder of United Farm Workers) at the Feminist Majority's offices, over our visit to a model Rape Crisis Center in Santa Monica, to our lunch-time strategy session with latina and chicana women in East Los Angeles.
And we have come to a few conclusions.