Deathly celebration


The victims of the Ciuadad Juarez, Mexico, murders all have certain traits in common, activist Lu Rocha said at this past Friday’s Day of the Dead celebration. They were female, slender, with dark complexions and brown hair, relatively young—many were in their teens or 20s—and poor. They were factory workers, waitresses, and students. Such women, Rocha said, are “a dime a dozen” in Mexico. Lacking economic or political clout, they can disappear without consequence for their murderers. More than 400 women have been abducted, raped, mutilated, tortured, and killed since 1993. Since the killings began, there have been 18 arrests but only one conviction, and even that conviction is suspect, Rocha said, considering recent evidence of torture-induced confessions. Rocha, who for three years has worked at Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa, a Juarez organization of victims’ families that seeks justice and an end to the brutal murders, urged the Hutch Commons audience not to forget these women and to write letters to Mexican President Vicente Fox and other government officials.

“It’s very bittersweet, the Day of the Dead,” Rocha said. The Mexican holiday, celebrated November 1 and 2, honors the lives of the deceased, from friends and family members to victims of national disasters. Though the focus of Friday’s commemoration, female victims of Latino violence in the U.S. and Mexico, lent the event a sobering tone, it retained some joy: Nahualli, a Mexican ceremonial dance troupe, kicked off the night by performing several traditional dances; guests were then treated to a free Mexican dinner.

The event was sponsored by Student Government and cosponsored by MeChA, Organization of Latin American Students, Amnesty International, Feminist Majority, National Organization for Women, Rape Victim Advocates, and South Side SAVE.

Hana Yoo, ’07

Photo: The dance group Nahualli performs.

November 7, 2005