Upon the gruesome murder of his 24 year old son, prominent Mexican poet Javier Silicia declared “I have no more poetry in me.”  While Javier Silicia has now renounced his craft as a poet after this personal tragedy, uttering his very last poem at his son’s funeral, he is far from silent on the matter of epidemic violence in Mexico.  Following the death of his son, Javier organized with other leading anti-Drug War and anti-violence activists in Mexico.  Soon thereafter, the Caravan For Peace with Justice and Dignity emerged.  The Caravan is led by Mexican activists and victims of the Drug War who are dedicated to spreading public awareness of mounting Drug War violence and, most importantly, it’s root causes in the United States.  The Caravan for Peace’s ultimate destination is Washington D.C and it has already made numerous stops throughout the United States, mostly in the southwest.  On Sunday September 2, The Caravan for Peace arrives in Chicago for a two day visit.

As per the Caravan for Peace’s website, the official mission of the Caravan’s U.S. travels is as follows:

  • To shine a light on the crisis of Drug War violence, impunity and human rights atrocities that are rending Mexico’s social fabric;
  • To make the connections between the impacts of the Drug War in Mexico (violence, deaths and rise of organized crime) and in the U.S. (criminalization, incarceration, and life-long marginalization disproportionately affecting African-American and Latino communities);
  • To promote a civil society discourse with the American public and opinion leaders about the policies (easy access to assault weapons, militarization of drug enforcement and U.S. prohibition policies) at the root of the crisis;
  • To foster collaboration and effective solidarity among a broad range of North American, progressive, grassroots, religious, humanitarian and other organizations; and,
  • To leave, in the Caravan’s wake, informed, organized and mobilized communities of activists who will pursue reform strategies in the near and long-term on both sides of the border.

With deaths and disappearances in the tens of thousands, the Drug War has left a bloody imprint on Mexico, especially since it’s escalation beginning in 2006 under the orders of Mexican President Felipe Calderon.  But this is not Mexico’s Drug War, it’s ours in the United States, too.  Above and beyond the simple demand of U.S. consumers fundamentally driving the narcotrafficking industry as a whole, the United States and Mexico are inextricably linked with respect to the Drug War.  With the rise of the prison industrial complex being what it is, and the accumulation of failed U.S. drug policies on communities of color, in particular, victims of the Drug War are growing in number with each passing year here as much as they are in Mexico.

Peace, justice and dignity for Mexicans and Americans seem to be merely collateral damage in the Drug War–with no end to our losses in sight.  Any message to promote awareness of this failed war and how it impacts all of us cannot be delivered quickly, and loudly, enough.

To partake in the demonstrations and presentations, join The Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity at the times and places listed below:

Sunday, Sept. 2 at 6:30 PM
Welcome Mass
St. Pius Church, 1919 S Ashland, Chicago, IL 60608
Host: St. Pius

Monday, Sept. 3 from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Almuerzo y Dialogo Comunitario
Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W 19th Street, Chicago, IL 60608
Host: NALACC, Musuem of Mexican Art, Network for Revolutionary Change

Monday, Sept. 3 at 5:00 PM
Marching For Peace
4005 W 26th Street, Chicago, IL 60609
Host: Lady of Guadalupe Angelican Catholic Mission & Families Unidas

Monday, Sept. 3 at 7:00 PM
Vigil at Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church
4301 W Washington Blvd
Host: Chicago Clergy Coalition

Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 10:00 AM
Press Conference at City Council
121 N LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60602

Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 2:00 PM
Stories for Peace Caravan
Roosevelt University, Congress Lounge
430 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL, 60605
Host: Roosevelt University

Tuesday, Sept. 4 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Community Exchange and Presentation
Northeastern University (NEIU)
5500 N Saint Louis Ave, Chicago, IL, 60625
Host: NEIU

Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 6:00 PM
Community Exchange and Presentation
Albany Park Autonomous Center
3460 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL, 60625
Host: MSN, Comunidad Guatemalteca

For more details regarding the Chicago visit, please visit the Caravan For Peace Chicago facebook events page.  

 

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