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Parents of presumed dead Mexico students to speak in Fresno

Two parents whose children were kidnapped and were thought to have been killed nearly six months ago in Iguala, Mexico will speak tomorrow in the Fresno State Peace Garden as part of an effort to raise awareness and support.

Members of the Caravana 43 coalition will be speaking at several events this weekend in Fresno in solidarity with the 43 killed students from the Ayotzinapa Teacher Training school.

The purpose of Caravana 43 in the U.S. is to grant an international forum to the parents who have allegedly lost their children to violence by the Mexican government.

“We have spent these last six months, and there’s no way that they did anything for the disappearance of their children, so part of our job is to support our communities in any way possible,” said Leoncio Vasquez Santos, executive director of the Frente Indígena de Organizaciones Binacionales, a binational center for the development of indigenous communities.

“That is exactly what we are doing to provide them a space, a platform so they can tell tell their stories and search and get our community involved on this side of the border,” Vasquez Santos said.

Their case, like thousands of others, Vasquez Santos said, is one of the reasons that many migrate from Mexico.

Fresno State senior and media director of Caravana 43 Fresno, Lizbeth De La Cruz, has been following the case since its beginning, and said that she never imagined having a more personal connection to it until now.

“As students, we need to be aware of what is happening in the world and take a stance on issues,” De La Cruz said. “In specific to the 43 disappeared students, we need to stand up for those who, for one reason or another, are not able to defend themselves or are struggling to protect and even gain their rights under corrupt governments.”

“I feel that the dedication these parents have demonstrated to the world about how much they are willing to undergo to find their sons and seek justice is part of our culture,” she said.

Vasquez Santos said that it is important to get involved in the issue.

“This is something that is real; it’s not abstract,” Vasquez Santos said. “Many of us are here, and our idea is to go back to our communities, and if this type of situation continues to exist there’s no way that we can go back to our community.”

Vasquez Santos said that neither nation can afford to ignore the situation in Mexico any longer, where violence from drug wars is seeping into communities.

“I mean the violence that the drug lords are getting to our community—killings, disappearances of our people, our children, that’s a big challenge for us. We need to know about it and act on it.”

“We want to make some changes in Mexico, and we can see the opportunity to do that.”

A press conference at Fresno State will begin at 11:00 a.m. Saturday followed by a free public forum in the Grosse Industrial Technology Room 101. Caravana 43 parents and supporters will also hold a vigil later that day at the Mexican Consulate of Fresno at 5:00 p.m.