By Pablo J. Sáinz
Although many people consider marches in favor of the 43 missing college students in southwestern Mexico worthless, an uncle of one of the students said that these events of solidarity give their families hope and courage.
“My brother is devastated because his son, Jorge, has been gone for five months, but when he told that when he sees these shows of affection and solidarity from so many people across the world, he gets new energy and a new hope,” said Raul Alvarez at a recent march from the Mexican Consulate in Little Italy to the NBC news studio in downtown San Diego.
The march, which took place on Saturday, Feb. 28th, was organized by Comité Acción Ayotzinapa, a local organization that has been at the forefront of this movement in San Diego in favor of the missing students’ families.
The 43 missing students were kidnapped five months ago, in September, in the Mexican state of Guerrero, alledgely in the hands of local authorities and drug traffickers. The 43 missing were students at a rural teachers college.
The purpose of the march was to remind people in San Diego that the families of the missing students are still demanding justice from the Mexican government.
“The base of this movement is support and human solidarity, and this march is to echo San Diego’s presence in this worldwide struggle for justice, to find the 43 students and in support of their parents,” said Elena Marques, co-coordinator for the Comité Acción Ayotzinapa.
Some 30 people joined the march in front of the Mexican Consulate around 1 p.m. From there, the march continued to the NBC news building in downtown San Diego.
“Parents of the missing students have keep telling the world, ‘Please don’t forget about us,’ so this is our way of telling them we won’t forget about their plight,” said Marques, who is of Portuguese origin.
Manny Aguilar, an activist from Los Angeles who came to San Diego to join the march, said that he wanted Latino youth in San Diego “to stop being so indifferent to what is happening and to stop worrying about the Chargers stadium, and instead to focus on the social issues going on around the world, which affect all of us.”
Aguilar added that “our people whould stop wasting time in front of the computer all day long, and they should learn what is really happening in Mexico and even in the streets of the United States.”
During the hour that the activists were in front of the Mexican Consulate, the offices were closed, being a Saturday.
Clara Gomez, a mother who lives and San Diego but emigrated from Mexico, said she wanted to join the march to raise her voice.
“I’m very mad for what is going on in Mexico”, she said.
Alvarez, the uncle of one of the 43 missing students, said that his brother’s life has changed so much since his son went missing.
“He doesn’t eat, he is only focused on finding my nephew,” he said. “He cries a lot, but he doesn’t give up. When he sees people around the world marching and protesting like today here in San Diego, he said he doesn’t lose his faith that he will find his son alive.”
To learn more about the march and about the Comité Acción Ayotzinapa and future events, you can contact them at sandiegopresente@gmail. com or visit their Facebook page, Acción Ayotzinapa.