The Patriots of Ciudad Juarez

As most of you know, I am an art activist regarding the femicides in Ciudad Juarez. After a caravan to and 3 day protest in Ciudad Juarez in early 2002, I came back to LA with a fervor for creating art and inviting others to join me in this dialogue—but mostly my choice of art as an activist tool was out of desperation to help in whatever way I could.

I have met many revolucionarias and revolutionarios on this long-ass, no-light-at-the-end- of-the-tunnel road. Many of the activists I have met are victim mothers and artists (like me) that dedicate many of their hours trying to figure out how to end these seemingly senseless murders through our words, our research, our writings, our appeals, our pleas, and our diligence not to forget these families. Its one step forward and one step back most times.

My friend and El Paso Times reporter Diana Washington Valdez (who I have mentioned many times on LAeastside) sent me a copy of her recent article for the newspaper. This week, which should be the most joyous and celebratory time for all Mexicans everywhere, because its the 100th anniversary of the 1910 Mexican Revolution—comes with a morbid reminder that drugs and power fuel the dark forces. They are the killers of any ray of hope and fairness in the world.

The usual mafia style shocking reminder came this week in Ciudad Juarez when two 20 year old women were found murdered and dumped in a Juarez colonia on a street called “15 de Septiembre” and another woman victim was left in the main city on “Colonia de Independencia”. A coincidence? Not really when you go back and look at all the sick thrill murders that have taken place there (and other parts of Mexico) —all linked to the illicit cartel underground. The count is now 1000 women murdered in Ciudad Juarez that have a similar murder profile.

There are those who say that twice as many men are murdered in Ciudad Juarez, all linked to drug trafficking. I believe that. They wonder why our advocacy is women focused. My answer is, when we started this work with Marisela Ortiz from Nuestras Hijas al Regreso a Casa, Diana Washington Valdez, the victim mothers and wives of those falsely accused, we deliberately chose to focus on the women victims. [ Our options were helping the victims, the orphan children they left behind, the people falsely accused of these crimes, the families that were torn apart from the crimes leading to suicide and alcoholism, domestic violence education, fund raising to get dna tests done and other forensics performed, maquila worker rights, and so many more aspects happening in the microcosm called Ciudad Juarez.]  In that moment we did not even know if our words would be heard, or if our activism efforts would fizzle away. We worked hard to get everyone we knew to listen to us through our art, our writings, our speeches— and each year we continued to keep it present and on everyone’s minds.

We welcome all those who want to come in now (16 years later) and pick up the slack, where we have not been able to—show us how it should be done. End these murders. That is a revolution I want to celebrate. Read the complete El Paso Times Article this week by Diana Washington Valdez,  Women’s Slayings Continue in Juárez

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