International Women's Day Rally and Forum for the Women of Atenco

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The women of Atenco, Mexico, have been waiting more than two years for justice. On May 3-4, 2006, nearly 3,000 federal, state, and municipal police responded to protests by a local peasant organization. They arrested over 200 people – more than 45 of them women – without explanation. En route to the Santiaguito prison, many of the women were beaten and raped by the officers who arrested them. At least 26 women filed complaints, yet they still wait for an adequate response from the Mexican authorities.

On Thursday, March 5, from 4-6pm, Claudia Hernández, a survivor of the events at Atenco, will speak at an open forum at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. The following day, on Friday, March 6, Amnesty International activists will join coalition partners from Chicago area organizations from noon to 1pm, for a rally in front of the Mexican Consulate at 204 S Ashland St, Chicago, Illinois, to demand justice for the women of Atenco. Everyone will wear red in support of International Women’s Day on March 8 and to show our passion for justice.

Even if you can’t join the Chicago rally, you can still learn more about the case and other ways to take action.

What to Do with Your Leftover Holiday Cards

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I just got off the phone with a colleague in Mexico who has been working with the women of Atenco, and she told me she had come into her office after vacation to see that it was nearly filled with huge bags of mail. The bags were all stuffed with holiday cards bearing messages of solidarity and support for the women, sent by participants in AIUSA’s 2008 Holiday Card Action. “There must be over 10,000 of them,” she said, “the women will be so happy.”

Although New Year’s and the other holidays have passed, it’s not too late to take part in this solidarity action for the women of Atenco and 11 other individuals at risk. The action continues though the end of the month, so if you have any leftover holiday cards, this would be a perfect way to use them up. Or, if you’re like me and are only just now starting to write your holiday cards, why not send a few more? Most of us greet the new year with feelings of hope, determination, and optimism–sharing that spirit with others is a perfect way to start 2009.