Grandmother Power: A Global Phenomenon (powerHouse Books) is the fifth book by the unstoppable Paola Gianturco, who is a grandmother herself. Ms. Gianturco has dedicated herself to documenting the women who light the dark all around the world. Her oeuvre is sprinkled with a melange of activists who are working in their local communities for the empowerment and betterment of themselves and the next generation.
A perusal through any of Ms. Gianturco’s books fills one with the warmth of a glowing light, of the spark and sparkle of success against the odds. Grandmother Power continues along this path, a positive and powerful look at women who have reached the next phase in their lives. Their families are complete, their children now parents with children of their own, and with their nests empty, these grandmothers are free to give themselves wholeheartedly to their communities.
The result is a stunning array of heartwarming stories from all around the globe, dealing with issues of HIV/AIDS, cultural preservation, environment, human rights, education, justice, spiritual life, health, politics, and energy. For example, in Argentina, a group of grandmothers have gathered to search for babies stolen during the military dictatorship between 1976-1983 that “disappeared” 30,000 people, including babies and children who had not yet learned to speak stolen from detention centers to be raised as patriots.”
As Gianturco reports, “Pregnant prisoners were tortured but kept alive long enough to give birth. An obstetrician or midwife would be kidnapped from the street, blindfolded, taken to the room where the prisoner was in labor, and ordered to deliver the baby alive. After the mothers were killed, their babies were appropriated, sold, and abandoned.”
The grandmothers began to search, at first alone but then became aware of each other and joined together as the Abuelas (“grandmothers”) of the Plaza de Mayo. By 2011, they had identified 105 grandchildren. With four hundred to go, the grandmothers persevere, working together with the government to prosecute the former dictators Jorge Videla and Reynaldo Bignone “for overseeing a systematic plan to steal babies born to political prisoners.”
Such dedication comes from a place of passion and heart that reflects the crusade for the rights of children and women that is equally a part of Ms. Gianturco’s spirit. With her photographs and stories, Ms. Gianturco consistently pays homage to the unsung heroes of our world, the people who live and die fighting for the good, for justice, and for honor.