A poster plastered around the Mission depicts the face of Alexander Mora, one of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa that were disappeared. He was identified after remains were found and sent to the medical examiner's office in Mexico. Photo by Andrea Valencia

Last night, about 40 people from several community organizations and students from City College, KPOO and unions gathered at the 261 Laborer Union’s Hall on 18th Street to talk about how to work together as a coalition to assist one of the three groups of Caravana 43, a mix of parents, activists and students touring the United States to raise awareness about the 43 Mexican students that were disappeared last September 26 in Iguala, Guerrero.

The Caravana 43 will have three groups touring throughout the whole United States, visiting at least 40 cities to finally converge in New York and Washington. The group touring the Pacific, kicked off on Sunday arriving to El Paso, Texas.

The Pacific caravan will arrive to San Francisco on April 4th and will be in town for three days before continue on their journey up North, to Santa Rosa, Sacramento and Portland, among other cities.

Several events will take place in San Francisco during the Easter weekend. Olga Miranda, SEIU Local 87 Director, steered yesterday’s meeting to assign attendees to subcommittees that will handle the different activities planned.

Some of the activities proposed and discussed in last night’s meeting were a public forum with live broadcasting on Radio Bilingüe/KPOO with Chelis López; a march from 24th to 16th Street; a rally outside the Mexican Consulate and a student led event. Although the activities are still being planned, it is clear that the goal is to draw attention to the current violence facing Mexico, which resulted in the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa.

People at the meeting last night brainstorming ideas for the different subcommittees. Photo by Andrea Valencia

The Caravana 43 also hopes to shed light on what they see as a problematic partnership between the U.S. and Mexico, the Mérida Initiative which supplies Mexico with military forces with a vast supply of weapons and training.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the community also spoke of how to link the Ayotzinapa case with the recent police shootings in the Mission. Frank Lara, a teacher at Buena Vista Horace Mann, spoke of the common tie among Ayotzinapa and the SFPD shooting of Amilcar Pérez-López and Alex Nieto.

“We need to address this politically and speak about the state-sanctioned violence for the [Ayotzinapa] families and the families and friends of Amilcar,” said Lara.

If you would like to join one of the committees planning on activities, join the next public meeting, which will happen next Tuesday, March 24th at 3543 18th Street, at Mujeres Unidas, from 6-7:30pm.

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Andrea was born and raised in Mexico City, where she graduated as a translator/interpreter. She has been working with Mission Local since 2009 translating content for the Spanish page. Also lives in the Mission, does some reporting, social media and enjoys taking photos and training people that want to contribute to Mission Local.

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