Juliana Morris: Step by Step Towards Peace – A 6-day Caravan for Migrants’ Rights
Blog Post by Juliana Morris
Last August, the bodies of 72 Central and South American migrants were found in a shallow grave on a ranch in Tamaulipas, Mexico. The news of the massacre came as a shock to most people in the United States. However, the truth of the matter is that this type of extreme violence, carried out against migrants in transit through Mexico to the United States, is a fact of life for the approximately 400,000 migrants who cross the country each year.
Migrants in Mexico are victims of rape, assault, robbery, and extortion at the hands of corrupt officials, gang members, and local thieves. Women are among the most vulnerable. Amnesty International estimates that 6 out of every 10 female migrants who cross Mexico are raped at some point along their journey.
In the face of this crisis, human rights defenders from throughout Central and North America have organized Caravans for migrant rights entitled “Paso a Paso Hacia la Paz” (Step by Step Towards Peace) to bear witness and demand an end to the violence. The next caravan will depart from the Guatemala-Mexico border on Tuesday July 26th, and travel northwards to the Mexican state of Veracruz, an area that is currently seeing the highest levels of abuses against migrants in transit.
I am honored to have the opportunity to join this caravan as a U.S.-based migrant rights activist. While participating in the group activities and hearing testimony of people directly affected by the violence against migrants in Mexico, I will pay particular attention to the implications that this violence has for the immigrant rights struggle in the United States and for shared Unitarian Universalist pursuit of global justice. I will be reflecting on my experiences in daily blog posts on the Standing on the Side of Love website from July 26th through July 31st. Check back often and join me on this journey!