Heather Gies, soft-spoken and graceful, certainly knows how to throw a punch. She is definitely sweet and insightful, but what resonated with me during our hostile environment training in Mexico was that Heather simply kicks ass.
We’ve all watched in awe as she punched and kicked her way through the self-defense class.
I’ve heard stories about Heather reporting on the ground while bullets reverberate during the electoral crisis in Honduras last year. When I asked her what made her pursue Journalism, she told me that the spark happened while she was doing her master’s thesis about the campesino leaders in Honduras in 2013:
“As part of my research, I interviewed several campesino leaders involved in a very intense land conflict who were facing an extremely grave human rights situation… I felt inspired to do journalism to be able to tell those kinds of stories that I was passionate about and that I think urgently need to be told.”
The fellowship was full of equally strong and intelligent journalists but we’ve all come to admire Heather’s focus and hard work. She’s always up before everyone else, off to interviews and meetings. Her deep understanding and concern for the stories she’s reporting on simply doesn’t match her modesty and for that, I respect her deeply.
“I like to think that I’m writing about issues that do matter in the world and maybe I’m informing somebody in some way for them be able to use that information to try to make a change in the world.”
–Kimberly de la Cruz