Thursday, December 5

Conference to raise awareness of ongoing murders in Mexico


The UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center will co-host an
international conference with Amnesty International today through
Sunday, covering the murders of over 300 women in Mexico that have
been taking place for over 10 years.

This weekend marks the 10th anniversary since the kidnappings
and murders first took place, and they continue to occur unabated
without response from the Mexican government, according to a press
release from the Chicana/o Studies department.

The bodies of over 300 women who were typically factory workers
were found burned, beaten and mutilated. More than 90 of those
murdered women were also found to have been raped.

“We hope people will come out to the conference to learn
about the murders, and will call for an immediate end to these
killings,” said Mario Tafur, a member of the Arts for
Amnesty, an Amnesty International group that calls for people in
the arts and entertainment fields to profile the killings through
their works.

The conference was designed to continue to raise awareness of
the murders and to call for direct action from the Mexican
government.

“Having a high profile event at a top research university
brings more international attention to the issue at hand,”
said Chon Noriega, director of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research
Center. He said more than 800 people are registered to attend.

All keynote speakers and discussions will take place in Ackerman
Grand Ballroom, and the art unveiling will be held in Fowler
Museum.

Speakers are scheduled to discuss why the crimes are taking
place, how they continue to take place without much response from
the Mexican government, as well as how the use of art can help
raise awareness of the murders.

Mothers of some victims will take part in discussion groups. One
scheduled keynote speaker is Eve Ensler, founder and artistic
director of V-Day, which is an international movement to end
violence against women.

“Our main goal is to bring more attention to these
murders, which have been going on for 10 years. It has only been in
the past year that the United States has begun to look into the
murders,” Noriega said.

The UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center said it has been
difficult for the groups working on this issue in Mexico to get the
government and police to respond.

Student groups are also getting involved with the conference in
order to promote awareness.

“Every year for Dia de los Muertos, we focus on an
international social injustice. This year, we decided to inform
students of the Juarez City murders because it is the 10 year
anniversary,” said Cristina Lopez, coordinator for student
organization Conciencia Libre which focuses on international issues
that concern students.

The research center said it feels the conference can bring
everyone together to lead to better investigation and a better
understanding of why these murders are taking place.

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