Aug 20, 2012

Weaving community with the Caravan for Peace

The following guest blog is by Joseph Garcia, Americas Program Assistant who was in Albuquerque with the U.S. Peace Caravan. The photos are contributions by Richard Malcom, who is a participant who was there as well. 

The Atrisco barrio of the south valley of Albuquerque is a Native American and Latino community with a long and rich history. Atrisco welcomed Javier Sicilia and the Caravan of Peace
from Mexico Aug. 18. Speaking to reporters from radio, television, and print, Sicilia answered questions on the Caravan and his efforts to end the drug war. Speaking from a gazebo stage in front of a crowd of roughly 150 people of a variety of backgrounds, he told the story of his son Juan Francisco, who wasn't involved in the drug trade but was a hard-working, intelligent young man who had received a soccer scholarship. He noted that young people of the U.S. were and are at risk much like his son, and that we must take action. 

Among the supportive crowd were a city council man and a state senator, both well-known in Albuquerque as long-time social justice activists in the progressive community. Appealing to the people of the U.S., Sicilia said that we must plead with Obama and the U.S. congress to halt the illegal trafficking of arms. Part of his speech echoed his interviews, quoting the German Priest Martin Niemoller who famously stated ´first they came for the Jews...' He also expressed concern that the U.S. had become the United States of Arms, provoking death and destruction, with the example of the violence done to the Native Americans in times past. He called for people to weave a stronger, more peaceful community by becoming active and stemming the tide of the Calderon drug war.

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