A longtime religious studies professor at the University of the Incarnate Word needs help greeting a caravan coming Aug. 24 to San Antonio to remember victims of violence in Mexico.
“I am in charge of an interfaith opening and a silent vigil remembering those who have suffered,” Sister Martha Ann Kirk said of the “Caravan for Peace with Dignity.”
The caravan, featuring noted Mexican poet-novelist-journalist Javier Silicia, is winding its way from San Diego from Washington, D.C. Its San Antonio stop and program will be at St. Leonard Parish Hall, 8510 S. Zarzamora St. Activities there will include a 5 p.m. news conference, exhibits and conversation; 6 o’clock potluck supper; and presentations from 7 to 9, closing with a vigil in solidarity with those suffering.
Silicia, who lost a son in 2011 to the violence, will be among those in the caravan who will share testimonials about Mexico’s drug war. He also is expected to discuss policy changes on both side of the border that could make a difference in the drug devastation.
Sicilia, born in Mexico City, contributes to various print media such as the Mexico City daily, La Jornada, and Proceso magazine. He was founder and director of El Telar (“The Loom”), coordinator of several writing workshops, is a film and television writer, editor of Poesía magazine, was director of the now-defunct magazine Ixtus, a member of the editorial board of Los Universitarios y Cartapacios — the National System of Creators of Art since 1995 — and is a professor of literature, aesthetics and screenwriting at Universidad La Salle in Cuernavaca.
According to a news release, Sicilia and other caravan supporters are “advocating for a stop to the bloodshed in Mexico and for new government policies and reforms in both countries to combat the violence. The caravan recognizes five interrelated areas: drug war policies, arms trafficking, money laundering, U.S. foreign aid policy, and immigration.”
About 70,000 people have died in Mexico’s drug war since 2006 and as many as 10,000 disappeared.
“What we want is for U.S. people to make the connections,” Kirk said. “There is too much sensationalism about ‘the others who have drugs — those ‘bad people in Mexico.’ We want to make connections. We the people of the U.S. have contributed to more and more poverty in Mexico which is the main issue. We the people of the U.S. sell the guns and the easy availability of the guns is a main issue. We the people of the U.S. are a main market for the drugs.
“Government people on both sides are often more concerned about looking good rather than really sensibly trying to get at the heart of the problems. So basically what we are doing is bringing two buses of people so that we can hear some of the heartwrenching stories.”