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Posts Tagged ‘students’

It’s been fifty years since two African American US Olympic medalists, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, cast their eyes downward and raised clenched fists on the medals’ stand during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” (national anthem of the USA) at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.  Boos and racial epithets were hurled from the stands, both were kicked off the US team, ordered to leave the Olympic Village, and, upon returning to the USA, they received hate mail, death threats and experienced harassment.  However, their gesture became iconic and their stance against racial injustice is celebrated the world over, including Oaxaca.

Taller de Gráfica Experimental de Oaxaca, Calle La Noria at Melchor Ocampo, Oaxaca de Juárez

“I don’t have any misgivings about it being frozen in time. It’s a beacon for a lot of people around the world. So many people find inspiration in that portrait. That’s what I was born for.” –John Carlos (The man who raised a black power salute at the 1968 Olympic Games)

What most of the world didn’t see or hear about — because it was conspicuously absent from the covers of the country’s major newspapers — was that two weeks before, in what came to be known as the Tlatelolco Massacre, somewhere between 300 and 2,000 peacefully protesting students in Mexico City were murdered by Mexican military and police forces.

The echos from 1968 continue today…  Colin Kaepernick continues to be castigated and denied employment as an NFL football player for taking a knee during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” and 43 student teachers from Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa, whose bus was ambushed in Iguala, Guerrero four years ago, continue to be missing.

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They came, they saw, they styled, and they carried flowers!  This past Friday, it was the turn of Prepatoria No. 6 to continue the “only in Oaxaca tradition” of Viernes del Llano — aka, Paseo Juárez el Llano or Paseo de los Viernes de Cuaresma.

For the first five Friday mornings of Lent, young women in their second, fourth, and sixth semesters at the prepatorias (grades 10-12 in the USA) of the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca (UABJO), circle the statue of Benito Juárez in Llano Park, collecting bouquets of flowers, in this 45-year old tradition that traces its origin back to the nineteenth century — some say, even further.

There seemed to be a record number of young women this week — at least 30 — being cheered on by their families and home room supporters and ably assisted by their male flower-carriers.

Yes, there are winners in various categories (I think, largest number of flowers collected, most photogenic, best social media, and one or two others) and an overall “Madrina del Viernes” (Godmother of Friday) is chosen.  However, all seem to leave in great spirits — and blogger buddy Chris has even spotted a few down at the local salón de billar shooting a little pool later in the morning.

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In front of Santo Domingo de Guzman…

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Enjoy the day.  It’s a jungle out there!

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A pause in the Cuba coverage to echo Dorothy, “There’s no place like home” — especially if that home is Oaxaca.  I needed (yes, needed!) chocolate and coffee and, thus, headed toward the Benito Juárez and 20 de noviembre mercados.  As always, even just a grocery shopping trip is a feast for the senses.

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First, a calenda on Calle Independencia of students, academics, and workers to launch the registration of candidates for rector of Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca (UAJBO).

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A peek into el pasillo de las carnes asadas (ahhh, the smells) in 20 de noviembre mercado, while waiting for my chocolate guy to finish with other customers.

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A look at the finished murals (and merchandise) in a newly opened shop at Calle Macedonia Alcalá 100.

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Stopping to gaze up at the “Aves Sin Paraíso” exhibition above the Alcalá.

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Almost back to Casita Colibrí, a new stencil at the corner of Morelos and Tinoco y Palacios.

By the way, I got the chocolate, but couldn’t find my coffee guy in the maze of temporary stalls set up on the streets surrounding the Benito Juárez mercado (it’s undergoing a much-needed renovation).  There’s always mañana — I’m not completely out, yet.

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Friday morning I returned to Llano Park for this year’s fifth and final Viernes del Llano, an only in Oaxaca Lenten tradition sponsored by the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca.  A few weeks ago, when I arrived at 8:30 AM, the crowds were already four deep and, initially, I couldn’t get anywhere close to the action.  Not wanting a repeat, this week I got there at 8:00 AM to discover not many people and preparations just beginning.  Looking for something to find, I came across Litzy, one of the 18 contestants having her makeup applied.

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Like most of the young women, Litzy wasn’t alone.  A team of industrious and enthusiastic supporters were there before, during, and after to help, wave banners and balloons, and cheer as she passed by.

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Like the other contestants, she was presented with bouquets upon bouquets of flowers — way too many for one person to carry.  Thus, a team of her admirers was required to follow along to assist.IMG_0755

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The time came for the winners to be announced:  Five young women were recognized for their efforts and dedication, two for their truncheon(?) and organization of their groups, another for her eloquence, and another was named Miss Photogenic.  But, what about Litzy?  The suspense continued to build as the announcer spoke and paused and spoke and paused and then the name, Litzy Guadalupe González Montes was announced as the Madrina del Quinto Viernes del Llano!P1170423

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Felicidades to a lovely and very gracious young woman.  It was a pleasure to briefly tag along on her journey.

(ps)  Chris has more photos from this week at Viernes del Llano – Beauty abounds.

 

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Viernes del Llano, where young hip Oaxaqueños and flowers, music, and tradition meet.

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The five Friday mornings following Ash Wednesday, Llano Park is the place to be.  For early risers, only — by 9:30 AM, it’s all over but the clean-up.

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A pause in La Guelaguetza action to remember…

It’s been ten months since that unspeakable night 43 students from the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero went missing in Iguala.  They are not forgotten.  On the lower block of the Alcalá, an exhibition of sculptures by two Oaxaqueño sculptures, Victor Robinson and Emmanuel Guzman Sanchez is on display.

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One of the pieces, Faltan 43 y Faltamos Más (43 missing and we are missing more) speaks to the 43 students and to the countless others who have disappeared.

Guzman explains, that he feels it is necessary to speak out on social issues.  “I’m also installing a piece by the 43 missing normalistas; in this piece we find human remains and missing persons who do not know where they are; others that have been found in mass graves, and a broken country.”

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Three other students and three bystanders were killed outright and two dozen people were taken to hospital that horrific night.  Today’s CNN Mexico profiles one of the hospitalized students, Aldo Gutiérrez Solano, who remains in a coma.  The family must travel seven to eight hours to go from their home in Tultepec, Guerrero to Mexico City to sit at Aldo’s bedside.  According to his brother, Ulises, the bullet damaged 65% of his brain and “The prognosis is very bad.  Still in that state, is not yet known what will happen, how it will be.”  His family hopes for a miracle and that he will awaken to end the nightmare of Iguala.

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Eight months and counting… Tonight, eight months ago, 43 students from the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero went missing.  I am sadly resigned that marking this horrific anniversary has become a regular feature on my blog.  As a mother, a guest resident of Mexico, and someone who believes that the peoples of the world deserve social justice, I can’t ignore this tragedy.

I dare you to leave Carteles por Ayotzinapa, the current exhibition at Instituto de Artes Gráficas de Oaxaca (IAGO), with a dry eye.  The 49 posters on display are only a fraction of the over 700 posters submitted to the First International Poster Biennial 2014 Convocation Ayotzinapa, an initiative of Oaxaca’s internationally renown artist, Francisco Toledo.  In addition to Mexico, artists from Argentina to Greece; Iran to Lebanon; and Poland to the USA responded to his call, recognizing as Toledo explained, the tragedy of Ayotzinapa has outraged people from beyond the borders of Mexico.

Photo courtesy of Oaxaca Media

Photo courtesy of Oaxaca Media

Irwin Homero Carreño Garnica, a graphic design student, originally from Ocotlán de Morelos, Oaxaca, was awarded first prize for his heartbreaking work, “México fracturado por Ayotzinapa” (Mexico fractured by Ayotzinapa).  As you can see above, it is a map of Mexico in the shape of a skeleton, with a break in the femur, where Ayotzinapa, Guerrero is located.  Like the work of the Tlacolulokos, the use of an iconic image (skeleton) and a primary palette of black, white, and greys, increases the emotional impact, much like Picasso’s, “Guernica.

Second place was won by Damian Kłaczkiewicz (Poland) and third place went to Daniela Diaz (Mexico).  The three winning posters will be reproduced for distribution throughout Mexico.

The exhibition runs through June 26, 2015.

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Yesterday, the city of Oaxaca celebrated its 483rd birthday as a Spanish chartered city.  Early in the morning bells were rung, Las Mañanitas was sung, tamales and atole were served, an air force flyover buzzed the city several times, multiple musical events were held, a convite paraded through the streets, fireworks exploded from the Plaza de la Danza, and more, and it continues.  I was going to write about it, but…

Today a more urgent anniversary requires our attention:  Mexico Marks 7 Months Since 43 Ayotzinapa Students Disappeared.  Family, fellow classmates, friends, and supporters around the world keep their names alive and cry for justice.  And artists continue to reach into our minds and hearts through their music, artwork, and film making.

In the documentary, Ayotzinapa’s 43 Disappeared: Family & Friends Remember, we hear the voices of their classmates and relatives. They don’t trust the official story and are determined to find out what happened.

Near the end of the song, “La Patria Madrina,” from her new album, Balas y Chocolate (Bullets and Chocolat), Lila Downs chants the Ayotzinapa 43 mantra that can be seen and heard all over Mexico, ¡Vivos los llevaron, vivos los queremos!  (They were taken alive, and we want them back alive!)

And, on walls throughout Mexico, our attention is called to the missing 43 students from the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos, teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.

Oaxaca de Juárez

Oaxaca de Juárez

Mexico City

Mexico City

Mexico City

Mexico City

Oaxaca de Juárez

Oaxaca de Juárez

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Fridays during Lent must mean the “only in Oaxaca,” Paseos Florales del Llano or Viernes del Llano, the Friday pageant through Llano Park by young female preparatoria (high school) students and their spear, oops, I mean flower, carriers.

Some will teeter on spiky heels (tacones, en español); others will opt for the less sexy, safer, maybe even edgy, and definitely more comfortable “flats” look.

According to this article, there was a tradition in Oaxaca to pay homage to women — to honor them for the important role they play in the support of the family.  The ritual died out, but was resurrected in the seventies by the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca (UABJO) to recover religious and family values.  And so, for five Friday mornings during Lent, action in Oaxaca centers in Llano Park.  Along with the young women, there will be fans…

and bands…

Monos and clowns.

But the stars of the show are the young women; this Friday from Preparatoria 6.  They ranged from the natural to the glamorous.

There are winners — I think based on the number of flowers they collect from their friends, families, and fans.  However, in what seems to be a popularity contest, there is joy and sisterhood expressed by all; that is where their beauty shines through.

If you are in Oaxaca, or will be in Oaxaca in the next few weeks, check it out for yourself.

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Please note, the early start!  I arrived around 8:15 AM and, unlike previous years, couldn’t get close to the paseo.  Chris at Oaxaca-The Year After rolled in at 9 AM and it was all over but the posing, departures, and detritus.

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It’s been five months since 43 students from the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero went missing.  Their parents, the people of Mexico, and growing numbers around the world continue to ask, Who is Really Responsible?

A mural recently appeared along a very long wall at the entrance to Tlacolula de Matamoros.

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As I’ve previously mentioned, one of missing is Cristian Tomás Colón Garnica from Tlacolula de Matamoros.

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I realized, as I was processing the photos, each panel of the mural incorporates a letter.  One has to stand back (in the street) to see words materialize.  However, when we went back to Tlacolula on Sunday, there were cars and trucks parked in front of most of the mural and all we could see was, “Vivos 43.”  I would love to hear from you, if you know the full text.

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Today is the 104th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution.  However, there is no joy; most of Mexico is in mourning for the missing 43 students and the anger is building.  In Mexico City the military parade and celebrations will be moved from the Zócalo to a military installation in the Polanco neighborhood.  A mass protest march will replace it.

Castigo a los responsables de la masacre el Ayotzinapa

Zócalo, Oaxaca de Juárez – Nov. 17, 2014

The country’s attention is focused on today’s Global Day of Action for Ayotzinapa.  Many will wear black today to mourn the loss of students, journalists, and others to violence in Mexico.  It is indeed a global event;  Greek students have posted a video in support of the missing students and their families.  They will be Standing in Solidarity in Salinas (California) and in at least 115 other cities around the world.  And, in Oaxaca, among many other events, at 4 PM there will be a Festival Por la Vida at Santo Domingo, one of 231 actions listed on a Facebook page.

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Sitting on a wall, high above Av. Independencia in Oaxaca city…

Tears welled up as I watched the march go by.

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The headline, Mexico Burns as Outrage over Student Disappearances Sparks Protests Against State-Backed Violence, from the Nov. 13 “Democracy Now” show, is not an overstatement.  Yesterday, in front of Santo Domingo…

Todos somos 43 in foreground; Santo Domingo in background

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Bottles with flowers propping up cardboard

The Caravana de Ayotzinapa, one of three caravans by the parents and supporters of the missing 43 students from the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, is scheduled to arrive in Oaxaca tomorrow morning (Nov. 17).  A procession from the crucero at Trinidad de Viguera to the zócalo in Oaxaca is scheduled to begin at 9 AM.  Given the prohibition against foreigners participating in political activity, as much as I would like to be there, I’ll be sticking close to home.

However, for my friends in the USA, check out photographer and writer Tim Porter’s article, #43; there are demonstrations coming to a city near you.  Tim is a frequent visitor to Oaxaca and, for my Marin peeps, his articles and photographs regularly appear in Marin Magazine.

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A beautiful photo montage and song by Arturo Leyva honoring the 43 students of the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos, teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.

The video uses some of the #IlustradoresConAyotzinapa illustrations, paintings, and embroidery by Mexican designers, artists, and artisans of the faces of the 43 student teachers of Ayotzinapa. 

In addition, journalist París Martínez has developed profiles of the 43 disappeared students by talking with their families and friends.

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