Thursday, June 2, 2011

U.S. side of Mexico border to join Sicilia's drug war protest

Today, several civic and religious organizations, collaborating in a movement entitled "Justice Without Borders," announced plans to welcome peace activist Javier Sicilia to the U.S. side of the border.  Border activities for peace in the Mexico drug war will span two days. 

Sicilia, Mexico's preeminent poet and journalist, will lead a caravan called the "National Covenant for Peace" across Mexico demanding a just and dignified end to drug war violence. The caravan will depart Cuernavaca, Morelos on June 4, 2011 and make its way north, arriving in Ciudad Juárez on June 10, 2011. The caravan draws attention to Mexico's intense drug war which has claimed the lives of nearly 40,000 citizens, including that of Sicilia's 24 year old son. It continues the momentum generated by Sicilia's national march of early May.

Residents from both El Paso and Ciudad Juárez will join the peaceful rally in Ciudad Juárez that will mark the conclusion of Sicilia's caravan on June 10.  The following day Javier Sicilia will join other speakers in El Paso to address the injustice and violence of the war that affects communities on both sides of the border. That rally takes place in San Jacinto Plaza in the heart of downtown El Paso from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

The border community anticipates journalists, educators, artists and others from New Mexico, California, Arizona, and Washington, D. C. for these events. 

Activists in Ciudad Juárez and El Paso are involved currently in intense preparation to welcome and support the Mexico caravan and its covenant for peace assembly. Leaders want the event to highlight 

  • support for victims of violence in Ciudad Juárez, 
  • their demand that Mexico investigate all crimes, 
  • an insistence for protection for victims of the "War Against Drugs," and 
  • a call to end the U.S. Mérida Initiative.

The El Paso event will also include educational booths and activities for the entire family that employ music, poetry, and art. The group Javier Sicilia at El Paso: Justice Without Borders established Facebook page at which supporters can register their comments. 

After the rally, an Immigration Reform Roundtable, featuring immigration advocates and elected community leaders, will ensue from 3 PM to 5 PM at Mercado Mayapan in El Paso. Its aim is to develop a successful strategy, similar to that derived for Health Care Reform. It will formulate a cooperative plan of action, organizing community education forums on immigration and the subsequent political implementation of that reform. Leaders anticipate that The White House will assist them in coordinating their efforts to effect this reform.

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