On Saturday, April 4, five Goshen College students travelled to Chicago, IL to participate in a community forum, march and panel given by Caravana 43, families of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students. Caravana 43 is travelling across the United States to share their stories and demand the return of the students and an end to U.S. military aid to Mexico. First-year Hannah Yoder and sophomores Zach Zimmerman, Anya Kreider, Mimi Salvador and Alma Flores all attended the events.
In the evening, the National Museum of Mexican Art hosted a presentation given by Latinos from the local suburb of Little Mexico. The mother of one of the kidnapped students spoke, as did an uncle and a student who could have been kidnapped but wasn’t. Much of what they discussed concerned the Mexican government and the international community’s lack of action.
Following is a reflection from Alma Rosa Carrillo Flores:
“Going to the march in support for the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa in Chicago this past Saturday, April 4, was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. Meeting the mom and uncle of two of the 43 and one of the survivors of the massacre was very sad. They have been through many difficult times. One of the things that made me reflect was their distrust of everyone, even those who mean well, because they can’t tell who to trust anymore.
“I admire them for being so strong and for being proud of their indigenous heritage. For a moment I felt I was in the country where I was born, the country in which I grew up to be who I am now. I felt at home. They said there are many of us who want to have a better world and it is time for all of us to come together and fight for justice. We are here not because we want to be, but because we have to be! It is our responsibility as Mexicans... It is MY responsibility as a Mexican. Even though I am far from home and I’m not able to go out in the streets of Mexico City to fight for justice, I was able to do it from the other side of the border.
“We hope to continue our promise to bring true and reliable information to people all across the U.S.A. I, along with a group of people, have a project in mind that we might start this fall. We want to inform and help educate middle and high-school students in both Goshen and Elkhart about this horrible experience that 43 students and their families have been living for more than six months.
“In the march for the 43 missing students, we were also there supporting the hundreds of unarmed people of color who have been murder by police in Chicago, and the rest of the US. Tears came out of my eyes when we were all there not looking at colors of skin, race, language, country of origin, physical differences, each other's problems, etc. We were all there saying...HANDS UP DON'T SHOOT!”