Why Should We Care?

Friday, August 13, 2010 8:46 AM

Why Should We Care?
PEACE OF ART: Design for Change
By Sandra Salas

One day, I was watching the news with a couple of friends and a news clip of the violence in Cd. Juarez came up. We all watched silently. One of my friends was horrified and somewhat scared, another friend said how sad it was and then walked away to get a soft drink, another friend commented how grateful he was to live in a country where that kind of stuff doesn’t happen. I had mixed emotions. I didn’t know what to make of it. We talked a bit about it and then we went back to our business, dinner and a movie.

I couldn’t stop thinking about our reaction to that news clip. I grew up in Cd. Juarez. I only have good memories of what used to be a great city. A wave of violence has taken our sister city under siege due to the territorial war among the drug cartels and the Mexican government. My friends and I, we only made a pause and went on to our merry lives. Our lives on this side of the border are great. After all, we are the second safest city in the United States. Should we care of what is happening to our neighbors? My heart felt sorrow for Cd. Juarez and all Juarenzes. I began to contemplate on how this violence is affecting people’s lives. The number of victims of the violence is hard to tell. Thousands of businesses have closed down or have moved, leaving thousands unemployed. Many people have left Juarez, relocated to other parts of the Mexico and many of them are coming to the United States. Thousands of people have died in this drug war. Families are separated for innumerable reasons. The level of poverty has increased and like always, the poorest are the most vulnerable.

Why should we care? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that what is happening in Cd. Juarez is our problem too.  Many of us here in El Paso have roots in Cd. Juarez. Many of us have family or friends living in Juarez. Many of us went to Juarez for a good meal and entertainment. El Paso and Cd. Juarez are referred to as “Sister Cities” for many reasons. We are the largest bi-national metropolitan area in the world with 2.2 million people. Whatever happens on either side of the border, social, economic, environmental, political and even spiritual, it affects the other side. Being citizens of a global society, it is our responsibility to care about what is going on in the world and especially in Cd. Juarez because they are our brothers and sisters, and they need our help. We cannot look the other way.

As a graphic designer, I felt compelled to do something about it, at least to speak out. I decided to work on a poster that protests against such violence. After discussing it with many of my colleagues, it was interesting to see their perspectives as to the situation in Juarez. I invited them to design a poster that promotes peace and/or protests the violence in Cd. Juarez and put an exhibit together. The response was phenomenal. The exhibit is called “Peace of Art: Design for Change.” A graphic designer from Cd. Juarez, Saulo, from the Universidad Autonoma de Cd. Juarez, was organizing a similar poster exhibit in Cd. Juarez. That exhibit is called, "Ideas por la PAZ." We became interested in uniting both exhibits and showing them on both sides of the border. Somewhere between 80 - 100 posters are being displayed in  different locations throughout El Paso and in Cd. Juarez. 50 children from El Paso made drawings of what “Peace” means to them and are being displayed along the professional posters.

While putting the exhibit together, we realized that speaking out is a good thing but we could always do more. We want to help people. So the exhibit will serve as a fundraiser to help victims of violence in Cd. Juarez. The opening reception will be an opportunity to ask for donations. We are partnering up with The Border Women’s Foundation to help us distribute the help to the victims. A website will display the artwork along with stories of people who have been affected by the violence and a donation button for those who would like to help. A catalog featuring the artwork and stories will be printed and available for sale and all proceeds will go to The Frontera Women’s Foundation: the Peace of Art Fund.

The “Peace of Art: Design for Change” exhibit and fundraising effort will hopefully help out many.

I kept thinking we can do more for all Juarenzes. I then realized, the Juarez situation is beyond our control, it needs to be put into God’s hands. Through the power of PRAYER we can ask God. God listens to our prayers. We are so blessed in this wonderful nation so we need to follow God’s command to love our neighbors in Cd. Juarez and have them in our prayers. Please say the following prayer for our neighbors.

Dear God,

I pray for our sister city of Cd. Juarez. God, they are struggling, they are hurting and suffering, they need Your mercy. I pray for every person in Cd. Juarez and for those who have family and friends there. I pray for them not to lose hope and that they turn to you in these turbulent times. God, I ask that the people who are responsible for all these atrocities; that their hearts soften, repent and turn to You God.  Lord, I pray for Cd. Juarez’ government and leaders; that they turn to You for guidance and wisdom. Please send your angels to guard our beloved sister city.

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1 Comment

Friday, August 13, 2010 3:35 PM
I am very interested in this project. Please let me know how can I help you?? Thank you, Fernando

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