In mid-August 2012 the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity -- led by the mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers of Mexicans murdered and disappeared during the drug war -- began its sojourn across the United States.
Starting from the Pacific shoreline where the wall dividing the U.S. from Mexico meets the sea, the 120-person caravan traversed 5,700 miles, holding events in 26 cities and generating extensive coverage in most of the major media markets in the U.S. and Mexico.
The Caravan -- led by survivors of Mexico’s drug war who have transformed their losses into moral, courageous, and compassionate action -- were joined by drug war victims north of the border who also seek peace and an end to the absurd and tragic consequences of drug prohibition.
One of these courageous survivors is the Mexican poet, Javier Sicilia, whose son and a group of friends were smothered to death last year, has played a crucial role in building the movement for peace. In response, Sicilia announced he would give up writing poetry to voice the collective nature of his pain and to give space to the voices of tens of thousands of other victims of Mexico’s squalid war.
All along its journey the Caravan spoke boldly and used creative non-violent actions to dramatize the issues while seeking common ground on which to build the difficult, bi-national road to peace. In San Diego, Mexican mothers who had lost sons or daughters embraced American mothers who had similarly lost children to violence, drugs, or prison. The mothers called out their common humanity in the first of many candle-lit vigils.
Along the Caravan’s entire route, the “caravaneros” – citizen ambassadors of Mexico’s peace movement - built new friendships and alliances, and left indelible marks in countless thousands of hearts. Long before reaching its final stop in Washington, DC, the collective moral force and creativity of the Caravan generated vast coverage in both Mexican and U.S. media.
The Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity, and all of those who have supported and continue to support its profoundly transformative goals, can be proud of the role we have played and will continue to play as we seek to reshape our societies.