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“Never Forget: TAMIU’s Ayotzinapa 43 protest”

By George Gonzalez
On December 21, 2014

Thursday, November 20th was held as a global wide remembrance of the 43 missing Mexican students. Countries all over the world, including the United States held protests and vigils in solidarity for the lives lost in Ayotzinapa. Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) was no exception.

Leading the universities protest was professor Dr. Sina Harris and SGA President Jackelyne Briseno. Those in attendance were all dressed in black and each person held a photograph of a missing student. In describing the emotional and moving event, Briseno stated, “we stood in a circle and read out the names of each of the 43 students, along with a few sentences about the students themselves.” The SGA President mentions how, “there were a few that were direct siblings, another who was the sole provider for his family, cousins,” elaborating that, “they all wanted to be teachers and better the world and it’s not fair that they’ll never get the chance to do so now.”

After the names of the missing students were called out and a Mexican poem written specifically for the cause was read out loud by a TAMIU Spanish professor.

“In regards to Ayotzinapa 43 Performance.” professor Sina Harris reiterates, “we had a positive response as well. It was an emotional way to demonstrate our solidarity to the parents of these students and an artistic way to claim for justice.”

Despite TAMIU’s protest, since the September incident there have been on-going demonstrations all over Mexico for the missing students. Many of which have ended in brutality and violence from the police. Commenting on those current atrocities both Sina Harris and Jackie Briseno illustrated the importance for people to continue to fight these kinds of injustices.

The Spanish professor replied, “the protests in Mexico are beyond Ayotzinapa. Mexican people are tired of impunity.” Harris explains, “there are more than 22 thousand people disappeared, continuous violent crimes, impoverishment, proven ties and complicities between politicians and organized crime--like Abarca, ex-mayor of Iguala, who presumably ordered to kill the 43 students of Ayotzinapa and whose wife is the sister of two kingpins currently in jail.”

Mrs. Harris added, “Ayotzinapa is a Human Rights crisis. It is the straw that broke the camel’s back. But it is a problem that only Mexican people can solve. We are only witnessing facts, and expressing our support after Global Action for Ayotzinapa call.”

Illustrating the various corruption and injustice in Mexico, the professor highlights an article published by Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui a few weeks ago regarding a, “7 million dollar house that belongs to President Enrique Peña Nieto’s wife, a popular soap opera actress.” According to the article, “this house was built to Peña Nieto’s wife by the same provider that has had millionaire profits due to public contract bids with Pena Nieto government when he was governor, and recently this same company was awarded to build a high-speed railway from Mexico City to Queretaro.” Harris continues, “this last contract was suddenly cancelled before Aristegui released her article on EPN white house. The problem is not only a conflict of interests, but the fact the EPN lied in his wealth statement form.”

The TAMIU instructor also highlights the large November 20th protest in Mexico City in-which eleven students were arrested and by the Mexican government due to accusations of terrorism.

Harris explains, “Terrorism? These students were not armed, were not masked, they were only protesting. One of these detained students is a national from Chile, he was not even participating in the protest, he was riding his bike when was caught by police. EPN government is eager to disqualify protesting in Mexico.”

Ultimately, the Spanish professor wishes that, “transparency, honesty, and efficiency” is what should be expected for the Mexican government because, “these three circumstances have been absent from Mexican president response to the situation.”

Speaking about the current violence and brutal force by the government officials, Briseno established, “I would never fully support violence, but this time, it’s coming from both ends, I think people need to fight the right way: peacefully and diplomatically.” The young political science major remarks, “violence can only result in more violence,” proclaiming, “we need to continue this fight for as long as it takes. It’s not just individual lives at stake anymore, it’s the entire nation. The Mexican government cannot do this to its people! Where is the justice? Where is the attention? Where is the good leadership that was promised to these people? We have to continue until we have change. If we stop now and let this dissipate, Mexico will never recover.”

Emphasising the importance of standing up for something you believe in Briseno declared, “It’s our duty to get involved and create awareness and show support, in any way that we can.” Even if it is about protesting for another kind of cause, Jackie advises students to choose a cause that they’re passionate about.

“Whether that’s saving the whales in Sea World or Japan, helping stray dogs on the streets, trying to help the situation in Mexico, trying to end world hunger, or feeding the homeless at Bethany House downtown. Choose something that calls out to you and dedicate yourself to it—fight for it. Our actions are what makes us immortal. We need to fight for justice in this world, for equality” proclaims the politically active student.

In the end, the young SGA President is thankful to Mrs. Harris for reaching out to her in organizing the event. She also thanks those who attended, shared the photographs through social media, and helped spread the word.

“I hope our moment does not stop here,” Briseno remarked.

“I hope that the TAMIU student body is supportive of this cause, keeps making noise (social media, presentations, conversations) and brings more light to this issue. As I mentioned before, these are our brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and grandparents that we are fighting for,” proclaims the SGA President. “We are not just fighting for the 43 Mexican students, we are fighting for the future of Mexico and for the people of Mexico.”


Danni Sol Nunez 01.jpg

On September, 43 Mexican college students went missing in the rural city of Ayotzinapa, Mexico. Suspected to have been murdered by illegal and unethical government involvement, TAMIU students honored the missing students by posing with a photograph of the lives lost.

(Photo by: Danni Sol Núñez & Dr. Alia Paroo)


Danni Sol Nunez 03.jpg

SGA President Jackelyne Briseno at the Ayotzinapa 43 protest

(Photo by: Danni Sol Núñez & Dr. Alia Paroo)


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