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Caravana43: Tour de los Estados Unidos de Las Familias de Ayotzinapa

Empezando la semana que viene, las familias de los estudiantes que fueron secuestrados y desaparecidos en mi ciudad de Iguala, Guerrero, llegaran a los Estados Unidos para hablar sobre la desapacion de sus hijos, y para pedir apoyo en su lucha contra la injusticia, la impunidad, y la corrupcion del gobierno Mexicano. Visitaran a 40 ciudades, con la ultima parada en Washington DC. Por favor unanse a su causa y apoyen a estas familias.

Los Angeles es una de las paradas la proxima semana. Yo empece una campan~a para recaudar fondos para ayudar a los visitantes durante su visita en mi ciudad. Por favor hagan una donacion a mi campan~a. Yo entregare el dinero personalmente el proximo viernes,  20 de marzo, asi que tengan por seguro que su donacion llegara a las manos de las familias.

Oprime  aqui para donar!

Visita la pagina de Facebook de la Caravana43 aqui para mas infomation.caravana 43


Caravana43: USA TOUR of the Families of the Missing Students

Starting next week, the families of the students who were kidnapped and forcibly disappeared in my hometown of Iguala, Guerrero, will be heading to the US in an effort to raise awareness about their childrens disappearnance, and to seek our support in their fight against injustice, impunity, and government corruption. They will visit 40 cities, with a final stop in Washington DC. Please join their cause and stand with them in solidarity.

Los Angeles is one of their stops next week. I have started a campaign to raise funds for them to help them out as they tour the country. Please donate to my campaign. I will hand deliver these funds next Friday, March 20th, so rest assured that what you donate WILL get to them.

Click here to donate!

Visit the Facebook page of the Caravana43 here for more infomation.

 

caravana 43


My trip to Iguala

This past December I traveled to my hometown of Iguala, Guerrero to host a Christmas Toy Giveaway in the neighborhood where I grew up, a neighborhood filled with children living in extreme poverty. With the support of many wonderful people, I was able to carry out a very nice event on Christmas Eve at the local church.

 

I purchased over 700 toys (for babies to ten-year-olds), basketballs, so  ccer balls, and backpacks, purses, jewelry and hair ornaments. I also gave away shoes and clothes to some of the children (I brought a suitcase full of shoes and another full of clothes for this purpose). I rented tables, chairs, and a huge tent because it was sprinkling all day. I hired a DJ, served dinner (cochinita and beans), and for those who stayed after the Toy giveaway, there was café de olla and pan dulce for a midnight snack. The party ended at 2:00am when the rain started in earnest. Otherwise, I’m sure we would have kept on dancing!

 

 

 

The next day, with the help of my cousins, I went to deliver the leftover toys to the kids who did not attend the Giveaway. We loaded up the boxes on my uncle’s cart and went from house to house, almost like Santa! It really was a special event, and it made me feel so happy to see the children playing with their toys and enjoying their Christmas season. It brought back memories of my childhood growing up in this same neighborhood, often playing with mud and sticks because I didn’t have toys to play with.

 

I know that things are dire in Mexico, and the people there are dealing with so many tragedies and hardships that what I’m doing might seem trivial, that my Christmas Toy Giveaway isn’t enough. And perhaps it isn’t, but it is a start. One day, my dream is to open a Children’s Center where I can provide all kinds of services to low income children. For now, I plan on continuing the Christmas Toy Giveaway and putting a smile on a child’s face.

 

 

 

I had planned to visit the rural college in Ayotzinapa, almost three hours away, but as luck would have it, the Ayotzinapa students and parents came to Iguala. Two days after the Christmas Toy Giveaway, I attended a mega march held in Iguala exactly three months after the disappearance of the 43 student teachers. The march began at the site where the students were confronted by police, where three students were killed and 43 kidnapped.

 

Hundreds of people showed up from different areas of Guerrero and elsewhere. We marched along the pereférico all the way to the courtyard of the IgualaCity Hall (which is presently being repaired after it was burned). People shouted “Vivos se los llevaron, vivos los queremos/ You took them alive; we want them alive!” and “Ayotzi vive, la lucha sigue/ Ayotzinapa is alive and the fight continues!” At times, everyone would count from 1-43. It was all so powerful and yet so sad.

 

I was happy to see so many people turn up at the march. Ever since I had arrived in Iguala, I had been asking various people what their opinion was regarding the Ayotzinapa students, and I hadn’t liked what I was hearing.

 

One of my aunts called them “Crazy.” One of my cousins said the students had “asked for it.”  My seven year old cousin had called them “the bad people fighting with the police.”  A cab driver blamed the parents of the students for what had happened. “Why would the parents allow their children to attend such a radical school?” he’d asked.  It really saddened me and angered me to hear those kinds of comments. But that day at the march, I was able to see a different side to what I had been hearing so far. Here at the march, every single person present was there to support the families of the Ayotzinapa students. They were proof that though there are some people who don’t understand the situation, there are many more who do and who are willing to do something about it.

 

Mexico is currently undergoing a transformation, and the way to keep it going is by continuing to support the families of the missing students as they fight for justice, to stay informed about what is happening in Mexico-and to tell others about it. Perhaps the mainstream media isn’t covering the issue as much as they should but that doesn’t mean we can’t pick up the slack.

 

Finally, my trip concluded with a quick visit to Xalapa and to Mexico City, where I was happy to see some proof that people in those cities are supporting Ayotzinapa and their fight for justice.

 In Xalapa, Veracruz

“Because you took them alive, we want them alive.”

 

 

In Mexico City’s Alameda

“For the Ayotzinapa students and those from Tlatlaya, for all the dead and disappeared in this country, ENOUGH! We want a peaceful Mexico.”


LA TIMES article

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times interviewed me for a story on how the missing 43 has affected L.A. immigrants. Read the article here.

Or download PDF:

Presumed killing of 43 Mexican students deeply affects L.A


Heading to Iguala

On September 26th, my hometown of Iguala, Guerrero was the site of one of the most horrific crimes in recent Mexican history. Forty-three students from a rural teachers college in Ayotzinapa were abducted by Iguala police and handed over to the local drug gang, Guerreros Unidos. No one has seen the students since, and they are feared killed in a mass incineration. It was later discovered that the Iguala mayor and his wife were involved, and it is believed that the police was acting on the mayor’s orders. The failures of the Mexican government, and the incompetent way it has handled the situation has led the people of Mexico to say they’ve had enough; they are tired of corruption, impunity, and the continued violation of human rights. National protests have been held for the past two months across the country as the Mexican people fight for reform, justice, and change.

Before the tragic events that took place in Iguala on September 26th, hardly anyone in the U.S. had even heard of my hometown. Iguala is a mid-size city surrounded by mountains located between Mexico City and Acapulco. Seventy percent of the people in Guerrero live in poverty. I experienced that poverty first-hand when I lived there. That poverty, and the lack of opportunities, was what drove my father, and later my mother, to leave Iguala and head to the U.S. Then one day I also left Iguala, and at nine years old I found myself running across the U.S.-Mexico border in search of a better life.  I made it across the border on my third attempt, and I vowed that I would never forget where I had come from.

On September 6th, I launched a fundraiser campaign for a Christmas Toy Giveaway. In sixty days I raised over $5,000 dollars with the support of friends and strangers who believed in my project. On December 17th, I will go to Iguala with my son and host a Posada in my old neighborhood, where, in addition to a goody bag, all children will receive toys and every family will receive a special Christmas dinner.This summer, I returned to Iguala to visit my family. I hadn’t been there in four years, and I was shocked to see that my old neighborhood had gone from bad to worse. More and more people are living in extreme poverty. Shacks have sprouted where there weren’t shacks before. As I watched the children playing in the dirt, I decided I was going to do something special for them. I decided that I would come back in December and make their Christmas unforgettable.

I know this isn’t enough, and in the future I would like to do much more for the people in Iguala. But for now, I think that what I am doing is more important than ever. After what happened in Iguala in September—the disappearance of the students, the numerous mass graves found in the area, the fear and horror that the community has endured—I think that my Christmas Toy Giveaway will provide a little joy to what otherwise has been a bleak and sad time in the city, and in the country as a whole.

I urge you to stand in solidarity with the Mexican people as they fight for a better Mexico. Together, we can all make a difference.


Upcoming Christmas Toy Giveaway

From September 5th to November 5th I was conducting a fundraiser campaign for a Christmas Toy Giveaway I will be hosting in my hometown of Iguala, Guerrero. The campaign ended last week, and I am very grateful for the support I received for this project. In light of what has been happening in my hometown regarding the 43 college students who disappeared and are now feared dead at the hands of local police & a drug gang, I feel that it is more important than ever to host this toy giveaway and bring a little happiness to the children living there.

I created a short video from footage that I took while I was visiting family in June. Here in this video you can see the stark poverty in Iguala. 70 percent of the people in Guerrero live in poverty. Guerrero is one of the poorest states, and now it is also one of the most dangerous states as well.

Thank you to those of you who contributed to my fundraiser. If you didn’t get a chance to contribute, don’t worry; I am planning on doing this every year!

Click here to watch the video.

Reyna


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