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By Sister Lilian Silva

On October 25, 2020, we lived an experience that will mark the destiny of our beloved Chile in the next years.

After the social outcry in October 2019—by which all the injustice that thousands of people suffer was disclosed in the areas of education, health, femicides, pensions, etc.—President Sebastian Piñera called to a plebiscite to approve or reject the drafting of a new constitution.

This was a voluntary invitation and marked a milestone in our country, as the option “I approve” obtained the most votes. I feel that people feel more hopeful after learning the result.

In spite of the pandemic, thousands of people from different places took to the streets to celebrate. What comes next is the election of members for the Constitutional Convention that will be drafting Chile’s new constitution. This group of people will include men and women in equal numbers who will be chosen by all of us. There is still a long way ahead, but we have taken the first step.

I would like to share with you on that Sunday I woke up very happy because I would be part of a very important day for my country, and I felt proud of the civic attitude we all had. Personally, I was quite moved and felt a strong commitment. I loved watching all the people as they complied with the norms that had been imposed by the Health Ministry in an orderly and respectful way. I also felt glad to see many young people participating, because they have not been voting lately. When there is a will, there is a way. 

Sister Maria Inés shares part of her own experience: “I was very touched by the word projected at the Dignidad Square that Sunday night: “REBIRTHING.” This reminded me of the previous plebiscite in 1980, and I felt that I was, once again, part of an historical event as people peacefully expressed their disagreement with a constitution that had been written in the times of Chile’s dictatorship. It gave me hope to see committed young people transmitting joy and enthusiasm at the voting places. I was glad to see that people of different ages were exercising their right ‘to vote and change the destiny of our society’ with a simple pencil.”

In Santiago, many people began gathering at Italia Square—known as Baquedano Square and lately Dignity Square—located in the center of Santiago. It was filled with singing, lights, joy, hope, flags, hugs and happiness.

It was a civic feast illuminated by the word “REBIRTHING” that showed that a new era was starting.