September 24, 2004

Women react with fury

By Luis Alonso Perez

On a dirt dessert road, near the border between Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, Texas, a bus driver on his morning ride found the body of a young women, about 24 years old, who apparently had been raped and murdered.

This happened a few weeks ago near Cristo Negro hill, the same place where six more women have been found dead throughout last year.


Television personality Ely Guerra with a t-shirt

Dead bodies of working class women have been turning up around Ciudad Juarez for more than ten years now. It’s believed that at least once a week a girl disappears and no one hears about her anymore.

This situation has outraged people all around the world, including Sandra Bello, a 24-year-old photographer from Tijuana, who turned that rage into action. She decided to embark on a documentary photography project called “Reacciona Mujer con Furia” (Women react with fury) that records people’s reactions towards the murders in Juarez.

This project consists in making pink t-shirts with a black cross in the middle, asking people to put them on and photographing them. She wants to capture the reactions of women from all ages, occupations and social classes, although some men that voluntarily joined the cause have been photographed too.

Besides from inviting people to put on the t-shirt, she also offers them a blank sign in case anyone wants to write a message and be photographed with it, in order to obtain a stronger reaction.

The idea for this project was conceived when Sandra saw a documentary called “Señorita Extraviada” about the women murdered in Ciudad Juarez. At first she knew that she wanted to do something about it but didn’t know how. Then she decided to submit it for a grant, and was approved by the State’s Culture and Arts Fund.

With the first grant payment she printed a bunch of t-shirts and put her camera into action.

Now Sandra is trying to get all the support she can get from women who live or visit Tijuana so they can put on the t-shirt. Her goal is to include all type of women: Politicians, social workers, athletes, students, maquiladora employees, artists, housewives, etc.

So far the results have been very encouraging; she has photographed people like Roxana Di Carlo, a local anchor-woman; Eugenia Leon and Ely Guerra, Two very important Mexican singers; to name a few. She has also received support from men, like writer Carlos Monsivais.

People have supported Sandra in more than one way. When she got invited to a radio show to talk about her project, a dressmaker that works in downtown Tijuana called in to offer her help, she was willing to lend a hand by selling some t-shirts in her store.

Another objective in this project is to print informative brochures about the problem affecting Ciudad Juarez, so they can be handed out in discussions or meetings with students and workers of Tijuana. Unfortunately the printing costs are high, so she has to turn to sponsors to get them made.

When the photography project concludes Sandra wants to set up a presentation of the best photos and protest signs collected throughout the year.

“My work – said Sandra – has the goal of leaving a document behind which demonstrates that there was a reaction in Tijuana about this problem.”

“I hope that in a couple of years this issue has been long forgotten”

If you are interested in participating or finding out more about this project get in contact with Sandra Bello. Telephone: 011 52 (664) 631 6300 ext. 3226 Monday – Friday 9:00 to 3:00 E-mail: Aleph_13@hotmail.com Mec@colef.mx

This article contains information from the association “Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa A.C.” For more information on their efforts visit their web page: www.mujeresde juarez.org and also contains information from the web site www.almargen.com.mx

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