The time has come for change in Mexico. As I’ve said a million times before, I don’t care what your political beliefs are; this is about peace, hope and change for the betterment of the Mexican people.
Once again, my two best friends in Mexico were staring down the barrel of a gun last week, both on separate occasions both just steps from their front door. Cesar was leaving his home and dropped his cell phone, he got up to find a masked man right in front of him with a gun pointed at his head. He said in that moment you freeze and your mind is everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. By the grace of God, his neighbour came out with a friend and the gunman calming put down his weapon and slowly walked away. A few days later, Cesar’s partner was driving home from work to find a gunman standing in the middle of the road with a gun pointing towards his car. This time my friend chose to accelerate and show the gunman no fear. It worked and he jumped out of the way in the nick of time. Sounds like a movie doesn’t it? Well it’s not, this is the life my dear friends live in Guanajuato City, a beautiful colonial city in the middle of Mexico, hundreds of miles away from any border town. This is not the first time they have come face to face with such cowards but I’m praying it was their last. They moved the very next day.
This is what infuriates me – how many times can they escape death. I hate the fact that I have to make sure his friends and relatives have my contact information so that if anything happens they can call us right away. What kind of life is that? The Mexican people deserve more respect than that. I want to move on and get change in motion. I want my friends to live a safe and happy life that they so deserve. I want to go back to the place I call my second home. I want my daughter to know that change can happen and good things come from perseverance. I want my dear friends to be able to walk out of the house without fear in daylight or darkness. It’s not working in it’s present state and if there’s one thing I know for sure, you gotta start somewhere. So if that’s at the bottom and grabbing those who are doing petty crimes or those who lurk around innocent people’s homes with their fingers on a trigger – than so be it. Just do something to stop the violence. It’s now or never, dig deep and find it in you to support peace and freedom for all in Mexico.
Whatever your political views on Mexico are, or who you think would be the best President for a country in crisis, I am relieved to hear that one candidate has at least addressed the drug war and violence and is taking a realistic stance. You may not agree with this stance, but it’s an action plan that I believe has worked in the past and a plan I believe needs to be put in place to get Mexico on it’s feet again. This action plan is reminiscent of Vincente Fox’s strategy when he was President. No one is condoning drug trafficking and drug lords, and murders and violence, but it’s time to focus on the crimes that do the most damage to the greatest amount of Mexicans. You have to start somewhere. There will always be crime and there will always be drugs in this world, but by changing focus I believe one small step at a time it will make a difference over time. Enjoy the read.
My neighbour and I ventured out on a cold and wet evening last fall to listen to novelist Carlos Fuentes at the ROM in Toronto. We were very curious to hear his stance on the on going drug war. We were nervous too because my neighbour and I feel the same way – that Mexico is in trouble. That the drug war is real and it’s going to get worse before we ever see a change for the better. But being as close to Mexico as I am, I find that a lot of people including Mexicans living every day in the eye of the storm are in denial and don’t think it’s as bad as we think. We were pleasantly surprised on the stance Fuentes took on the drug war. How he believes it’s worse than anyone can ever imagine. That the 50 thousand plus deaths are real and unacceptable and the world needs to open their ears and eyes and see for real what is happening in a country so close to our own. I remember my neighbour leaning over to me at one point during Fuentes’ speech and he whispered “It’s like listening to you, he says the same things you do….”. I will never forget how much that inspired me to keep our Hope for Mexico charity alive. I also remember thinking, I have to try and contact Mr. Fuentes, maybe he can guide me or help me somehow. Well, it’s too late. He’s gone now. But maybe that’s just the kick in the ass I needed. Whatever your beliefs….maybe, just maybe Carlos Fuentes will the the angel Mexico so desperately needs right now. RIP.
Isn’t that what charity is all about? I love it when something you wish for comes true. I wanted to meet with Free the Children a world renowned charity organization founded on a dream of two young boys. Now, Free the Children is helping communities all over the world and they found time today to help me.
Here’s my idea, I would like to hang my “Day in Juarez” photo exhibit in a gallery or place where we can invite people to come for a fundraising event kick off. I would love it if that place would be within the Mexican community.
As you know, Hope for Mexico believes education is the key to freedom in Mexico and we will raise money to build or rebuild schools in Mexico. We will ask those who joined in our Peace Rally last May to come back and be a part of the fundraising kick off event. I would love to hold the event in September, that gives us ample time to promote and really get people behind us to come and help us kick it off. Any suggestions?? Please join our facebook group Hope for Mexico and give us your opinion.
If you haven’t already, check out my Juarez photo essay on my photography blog.
I am asking all my friends to help spread the word. Hope for Mexico needs a place to hold it’s kick off event.
I’ve got a lot of work to do to get this charity registered and properly set up. Please, spread the word and help this new charity get the wings it needs to fly!! Gracias.
Some people have asked, “What’s my thing with Mexico?”, and I think that I’ve explained that over the years and people who know me and my family understand and get it.
But I also get people who look at me sideways when I tell them I’ve founded a charity in hopes to offer the youth of Mexico the opportunity of an education which will give them better opportunities and ultimately a better life.
I saw this quote today and it basically sums things up……
“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am currently waiting to hear if my Juarez photo exhibit has been accepted at a place we will hold our first fund raising campaign for Hope for Mexico. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
My relationship with Mexico is a very confusing one. I love Mexico, I love the culture, the colours, the people, the spirit, the smells of Mexico. I miss Mexico, I miss landing there and instantly feeling like I just arrived at home. I miss my friends in Mexico more than I can articulate. But then I fight with other emotions because I’m mad at Mexico too. I’m mad that the drug war has gotten this out of control, that my family and I can not risk going “home”. I am mad that my dear friends face each day with uncertainty and fear. I’m mad that the tourism industry continues to promote Mexico as a safe place to travel. I am mad that I believe tourism is an important piece to Mexico’s survival. I’m mad at the news today, of the Irish couples who were duped and “adopted” stolen babies. I am mad that certain sections of the Mexican government did everything in their power for 6 years to make sure my family could not adopt a child living in an orphanage with no chance of a forever family. But I won’t give up, I don’t give up on something that means that much to me. I will continue to fight and continue to find ways to help bring peace to that beautiful country and to the lives of those I care about. I’ve realized that being mad is a very powerful motivator.
Hope for Mexico is a charity organization that will devote our time and energy in helping those in Mexico find a better way of life without violence and corruption and fear. Hope for Mexico’s goal is to raise money to rebuild or reopen schools in areas of poverty in Mexico to give children the chance at an education. We believe that education is the key to give the youth a choice of a better life and not fall into the hands of the drug cartel in order to survive.
We will make a difference, even if it’s only one child….
Stay tuned for our kick off fundraising event.