Breaking the chains of violence in Mexico
Mexican human rights activists Juan Fraire Escobedo (Texas and Arizona events) and Saúl Reyes Salazar (California and Oregon events) will be speaking from Feb. 1–14, with powerful testimonies of the human costs of the drug war, militarism and gun trafficking. They are part of growing actions to forge a path to peace with justice and dignity in Mexico.
The United States has played an important part in the escalating war for drug prohibition. Mexican activists like Saúl and Juan are reaching out to people in the U.S. to support efforts for justice. They will be joined at some of these events by John Lindsay-Poland of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, who will address gun trafficking to Mexico, the drug war, and what we in the United States can do.
Saúl Reyes Salazar
Saúl will be speaking at the events in California and Oregon only.
Veteran activist Saúl Reyes Salazar has lost six members of his family in the last two and a half years to gun violence in Mexico. In January, he was granted political asylum by the United States.
Saúl comes from Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, where he helped to found the municipality of Guadalupe in the 1980s. He served as a local councilman for Guadalupe from 1998 to 2001. His sister, Josefina Reyes, was a prominent activist for human rights and demilitarization in Juárez until she was murdered January 3, 2010, after one of her sons had been jailed and another murdered. In February 2011, Saúl’s sister, brother, and sister-in-law were abducted, and subsequently found killed. Saúl’s mother Sara issued a remarkable appeal to the kidnappers of her children in February, just before the family house was burned down. This year, he helped to found the organization Mexicans in Exile, in El Paso, Texas. You can read an account of the Reyes Salazar family’s experience (in English) and hear an interview with Saúl (in Spanish) conducted this week.
Saúl comes to us after Juan Fraire Escobedo, who had been invited to speak in California and Oregon, was refused permission to travel by air from Texas by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on January 30. Juan, who has applied for political asylum in the United States with his next hearing in 2014, has a GPS bracelet placed on his leg that ICE declined to remove.
Juan Fraire Escobedo
Human rights activist Juan Fraire Escobedo comes from a family of activists in Ciudad Juárez. Juan’s sister, Rubi Marisol, was killed in 2008. Their mother, Marisela Escobedo, became a prominent activist for human rights and against femicides in Juárez, and in face of the judicial system’s indifference, she obtained evidence showing Rubi was killed by her boyfriend, who was arrested and confessed to the killing. After a court released him, Marisela was killed while vigiling in front of the Chihuahua governor’s building.
Juan was detained for three months after seeking asylum in the wake of his mother’s murder, and has since pressed for justice through vigils in front of the Mexican consulate, as well as participated in events seeking justice for all those victimized by the drug war and gun violence in Mexico. His story has appeared on NBC’s “Dateline”, while Marisela’s story was dramatized by Mexican actor Ely Guerra.
Wednesday, Feb. 1, 9:30 am, Oakland: Presentation to class at Holy Names University, Heafy Bldg Room 655, 3500 Mountain Blvd, Oakland. View map. Free.
Wednesday, Feb. 1, 7 pm, Berkeley: UC Berkeley, Wurster Hall Room 102. View map and get directions. View on Facebook. Free, sponsored by UC Berkeley Peace and Conflict Studies and the Metta Center for Nonviolence.
Thursday, Feb. 2, 7 pm, San Francisco: Public talk at the Eric Quezada Center, 518 Valencia St. (at 16th), San Francisco. View map and get directions. View on Facebook. Free event; donations requested. Ted Lewis of Global Exchange will also speak about the upcoming caravan of the southern United States led by Mexican peace movement activists and poet Javier Sicilia.
Friday, Feb. 3, 12:30 pm, Oakland: Presentation to class at Holy Names University, JM Long Student Lounge, Brennan Hall, 3500 Mountain Blvd, Oakland. View map. Free.
Portland, Oregon Area: Saúl Reyes Salazar
Tuesday, Feb. 7, 6 pm, Downtown Portland: Event hosted by Students United for Nonviolence, Smith Memorial Union 329, Portland State University, Portland. View map and get directions. View on Facebook. Free.
Dallas, Texas Area: Juan Fraire Escobedo
Thursday, Feb. 9, 2 pm, Dallas: Press conference, New Waverly Baptist Church, 3927 Aransas Street, Dallas. View map and get directions.
Friday, Feb. 10, 7 pm, Dallas: Presentation (7:00) followed by reception (8:30) and testimonials with a prayer vigil (9:00) at Christ’s Foundry United Methodist Church, 3363 Park Lane, Dallas. View map and get directions. View on Facebook. Free.
Arizona: Juan Fraire Escobedo
Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 13–14, Phoenix: Private events. Contact us for more information.
For more information, contact John Lindsay-Poland, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel 510 282 8983.