All María Elena Moyano wanted to do was help her people meet their immediate needs. She focused on public kitchens, education, health, and income for the poor – but her leadership put her in danger and made her a target.
Moyano was an Afro-Peruvian community organizer who was eventually elected as mayor of Villa El Salvador in 1989.
The problem was that Peru was at war, with many violent groups fighting for power. Moyano didn’t care about political ideology – all that mattered was that local women and children were fed.
One extremely popular program, Vaso de Leche, made sure that every poor child received milk daily. She supported the poor without the Marxists – which made her a threat. So a local Marxist leader sent for a hit on her life!
Assassins ambushed and murdered her in front of her family – then EXPLODED her body with dynamite to send a message!
But that only emboldened local organizers, who kept her work alive and eventually erected a statue to her in the town square. The Marxist group faced backlash for the killing that led to their downfall.
Despite recognizing all the danger that lay in her path, Moyano focused on her work – making sure her people were taken care of day to day. We need more leaders who truly serve the people, despite the risks!