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Caravan for Peace and Justice Arrives in L.A.

Victims from Mexico and United States to make 6,000-mile journey through 20 Cities to honor lives lost to the Drug War

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: August 14, 2012


Caravan for Peace and Justice Arrives in L.A.


On August 13, the "Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity" stopped in Los Angeles on its voyage across the United States as it works to create a bi-national movement against the failed drug war that has left more than 70,000 people dead in Mexico during the last five years.

Schedule for Tuesday, August 14:
--8 a.m.; breakfast at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church, 535 N. Main St. (L.A., CA 90012)
--10 a.m.; march to L.A. City Hall
--10:30 a.m.; visit to City Council meeting
--4 p.m.; Huntington Park City Hall, gathering of victims of drug war from Mexico and U.S.
--6:30 p.m.; Vigil in City Terrace (East L.A.), 1332 N. Miller Ave., L.A. 90063

Led by Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, families of victims from Mexico will tell the story of the human toll the war on drugs has left, while building powerful ties with local communities in the United States that are also deeply impacted by the failed drug war--the longest and deadliest war in U.S. history.

The goal of the Caravan for Peace is to engage in citizen diplomacy in order to put an end to the war on drugs and start a healing process from the national emergency that has devastated Mexico

The Caravan is led by renowned Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, who emerged as a leader of the MPJD after his son Juan Francisco was killed in senseless prohibition-related violence last year, together with family members of victims from Mexico will tell the story of the human toll of the war on drugs. They will unite with other victims and supporters from the United States for a month-long voyage across the continental United States.

"Our purpose is to honor our victims, to make their names and faces visible," Sicilia said. "We will travel across the United States to raise awareness of the unbearable pain and loss caused by the drug war – and of the enormous shared responsibility for protecting families and communities in both our countries."

Bringing together victims from both countries, the Caravan aims to expose the root causes of violence in Mexico, to raise awareness about the effects of the drug war on communities in the U.S., and to inspire U.S. civil society to demand new policies that will foster peace, justice and human dignity on both sides of the border.


Background:

Beginning at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, CA, the Caravan for Peace will travel over 6,000 miles through more than 20 cities and communities in 10 states--including Los Angeles, Santa Fe, El Paso, Houston, Montgomery, New Orleans, Chicago and New York--before arriving in Washington, D.C., on September 10. The Caravan will officially conclude on September 12 by calling for an International Day of Action for Peace in Mexico.

The goal of the Caravan for Peace is to engage in citizen diplomacy to stop the U.S.-led war on drugs and to start a healing process from the national emergency that has devastated Mexico. Throughout the journey, family members will tell stories of the drug war's human toll while building ties with communities throughout the U.S. also deeply impacted by the drug war.

Since 2006, more than 70,000 people have been killed and more than 10,000 have disappeared in Mexico due to violence caused by drug prohibition. Rather than curbing drug use or supply, prohibition has enriched violent traffickers, armed with illegal weapons and sustained by laundered money, both of which flow into Mexico from the U.S. unabated. The militarization of drug policy has only escalated the violence, corruption and impunity, leading to more deaths and disappearances that have torn the fabric of Mexican society.

The drug war has produced painful consequences in the United States as well. The U.S. ranks first in the world in incarcerating its own citizens, with less than 5% of the world's population but nearly 25% of the world's prison population. Roughly 500,000 people are behind bars for a drug law violation today. Blacks and Latinos are vastly overrepresented among those arrested and incarcerated for drug offenses, even though drug use rates are similar across racial and ethnic lines. Thousands of people in the U.S. have died because of prohibition-related violence. And thousands more have died because the criminalization of people who use drugs makes them too afraid to seek treatment or to call 911 in the event of an overdose. Instead of keeping communities safe, the war on drugs has become the longest, deadliest and most costly war in U.S. history.

Local supporting organizations Our Lady Queen of Angels-La Placita, The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Drug Police Alliance (DPA), PRESENTE, Federación Zacatecana del Sur de California, The National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC), Consejo de Federaciones Mexicanas COFEM, Restorative Justice Initiative , Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional, Central American Resources Center (CARECEN), Homeboy Industries Inc, Enfoque Latino-KPFK, The William C Velazquez Intitute WCVI, LA Comunity Legal Center and Educacional, FECADEMICH, Federación de Clubes Jaliscienses, Mujeres Migrantes Organizadas, Organización Regional de Oaxaca (ORO), Tia Chucha's, Federación de Chihuahua, Sociedad de Escritores y Poetas Latinoamericanos, Comité Pro Democracia en México, Federación Veracruzana USA, Frente Indígena Organizaciones Binacionales FIOB, Jóvenes Inc. Harmony Keepers, Students for Sencible Drug Policy, La Guelaguetza, Asociación de Empresarios Oaxaqueños, Federación de Clubes Unidos de Guerrero en California, Aztlan Multiservices, Abuelas por la Paz, Mujeres Unidas, IME, Comité de la Resistencia, Proyecto Sur Los Angeles, Central American Restaurant Association (CARA), Federación Michoacana, Comité de la Resistencia, Dolores Huerta Foundation, Mundo Maya Foundation, Salvadoran American National Network (SANN), Red Mexicana de Lideres y Organizaciones, Latino Roundtable de San Gabriel y Latino Roundtable de Pomona Valley, A New Path, Parents for addiction treatment & Healing, Paso por Paso Inc., REVOLUCIONARTE, Suplemento comunitario de KPFK 90.7 FM. Federacion Zacatecana Internacional, Global Exchange, National Association for the Advancement of colored People (NAACP), National Latino Congreso, The Luna Party, and Casa Durango.
More than 100 U.S. organizations* are part of the Caravan effort. In addition to NAACP and NALACC, these include Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), National Latino Congreso, Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Latin America Working Group (LAWG), Border Angels / Angeles de la Frontera, CIP-Americas Program, Presente.org, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), Veterans for Peace, Witness for Peace, L.A. Community Legal Center, Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional, School of the Americas Watch, Fellowship for Reconciliation and Global Exchange.

For details about the events planned in each city, visit: http://www.caravanforpeace.org

For more information: http://www.caravanforpeace.org or http://caravanaxlapaz.org/

About the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity: www.movimientoporlapaz.mx
Facebook: facebook.com/caravan4Peace
Twitter: @CaravanaUSA
Mail: caravanapresspass@movimientoporlapaz.mx

* Supporting organizations do not necessarily endorse all of the Caravan's policy positions.

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