*NEW* Search Our Team Reports! Type a word/phrase in the box below (hint: try "Human Rights'').

Monday, December 20, 2010

Team Safe in Michigan

The Fall 2010 MPT Peace Team arrived home in Mochigan moments ago, after their months of service in Juarez.

We at MPT want to thank the team and everyone who worked on this project for their invaluable contributions.

Please watch for updates and information about Juarez and the program here in coming months.

Happy Holidays,

Nicole Rohrkemper
International Teams Coordinator
Michigan Peace Team

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pain and Joy

Maryann is a young educated woman who speaks fluent english and spanish. She lives in Juarez but is working in El-Paso. Maryann up until last May felt like life had given her everything she ever dreamed of; a good family, a good education, a wonderful husband, and after several doctors visits yes it was true she was going to be a mother. The doctor had told her that she could not conceive because she had a tumor, but miracle of miracles! She and her husband were elated and were going to break the news to the grandparents.

Robert, Maryann’s husband loved pizza and had some friends over to share the good news and some good food. Robert stepped out on an errand with two of his buddies. They passed a check point and were not signaled to stop when suddenly all hell broke loose. The federales (government soldiers) fired forty-five shots. Robert received 3 fatal shots. Tom in the back seat received 35 fatal shots, and the young man in the passenger seat was unharmed. When Maryann arrived on the scene she was told by the Federals that they failed to stop and that they were hit-men, Maryann asked them to show her the arms they were carrying, because it was her car that they were driving, and she knew there were no arms. They had no answers.

Maryann's heart was filled with so much hate, she swore she would never listen or obey a Federale. After the funeral and life getting back to some normalcy while she was driving to work she was stopped by a Federale, he demanded she step out of the car and she refused. He put a gun to her head and demanded her again to step out. Maryann asked him if he had children, then told him she was pregnant and that her baby would never see the face of her daddy because of Federales like him who had shot her husband. The Federale lowered his head, and put his gun away and told her he was sorry and to please leave.

The baby will be born soon; hopefully before MPT leaves Juarez. Maryann and a group of 23 persons have lived this course on mourning together. Now with the birth of Maryann’s baby comes the opportunity for new life and hope. Sharing advent with the people of Juarez has been a time of grace, especially for Maryann and her baby.

*names have been changed to protect identities*

Monday, December 6, 2010

Juarez continues mourning

The family is a very jovial family that enjoys a good joke. They all work as mechanics using their own garage to put in long hours of work. Their oldest son was missing for several days. The family was worried. Someone found his body in a dumpster showing signs of assassination.
A humble, humble family had two young men assassinated outside of their side entrance where a group of young people liked to hang out. The sidedoor was always open. The young men were friends of the family. A few days later shots were heard and Mrs. wittnessed her husband and eldest son assassinated but this time inside the court-yard. The pain and fear of the rest of the family has caused them to put chains on their doors and live a very secluded life.

A young man named Hugo ran down to the shopping center to purchase a bag of chips before going to work. He was gunned down, right in front of the busy store. Hugo's eldery parents were notified and his mother, Arceli proclaimed in shock, "I don't know how I was able to move so fast!"
She arrived at the crime scene only to find her son dead in a pool of blood.

The funeral mass was over and many went to the cemetary to accompany the family. As they were leaving they met up with armend men who had the people that were accompaning another funeral down on the ground in rows!! They were filled with fear and tried to look for an alternative exit. They feared being part of a cross fire because the federales (goverment soldiers) came on the scene.
Many cannot even bury their dead in peace.
These are families that MPT continues to accompany.

*Names in this document have been changed in order to protect the families*

Monday, November 29, 2010

Declaration of the Rights of the child

On Saturday, November 22nd Michigan Peace Team was invited to accompany a march and rally held in central park, close to the border. The rally was held in honor of the anniversary of the Declaration of Rights for the Child. Central park is in the middle of a very busy area, one side of the park is located in the business district, and the other with colonias and housing. In the morning we rode with the children on busses that went to the neighborhoods: Mexico 68, Granjas, Divison Del Norte and Primero de Mayo.

After arriving at the park the Centro de Derechos Humanos gave a presentation to the kids on their rights and the rules for the event. The children were asked to make signs and banners for the march that was going to take place. The banners varied but they were all directed towards the rights of children.

The Declaration of the Rights of the Child includes the following principles:

Principle 1
The child shall enjoy all the rights set forth in this Declaration. Every child, without any exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to these rights, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or of his family.

Principle 2
The child shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. In the enactment of laws for this purpose, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.

Principle 3
The child shall be entitled from his birth to a name and a nationality.

Principle 4
The child shall enjoy the benefits of social security. He shall be entitled to grow and develop in health; to this end, special care and protection shall be provided both to him and to his mother, including adequate pre-natal and post-natal care. The child shall have the right to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation and medical services.

Principle 5
The child who is physically, mentally or socially handicapped shall be given the special treatment, education and care required by his particular condition.

Principle 6
The child, for the full and harmonious development of his personality, needs love and understanding. He shall, wherever possible, grow up in the care and under the responsibility of his parents, and, in any case, in an atmosphere of affection and of moral and material security; a child of tender years shall not, save in exceptional circumstances, be separated from his mother. Society and the public authorities shall have the duty to extend particular care to children without a family and to those without adequate means of support. Payment of State and other assistance towards the maintenance of children of large families is desirable.

Principle 7
The child is entitled to receive education, which shall be free and compulsory, at least in the elementary stages. He shall be given an education, which will promote his general culture and enable him, on a basis of equal opportunity, to develop his abilities, his individual judgement, and his sense of moral and social responsibility, and to become a useful member of society.
The best interests of the child shall be the guiding principle of those responsible for his education and guidance; that responsibility lies in the first place with his parents. The child shall have full opportunity for play and recreation, which should be directed to the same purposes as education; society and the public authorities shall endeavour to promote the enjoyment of this right.

Principle 8
The child shall in all circumstances be among the first to receive protection and relief.

Principle 9
The child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation. He shall not be the subject of traffic, in any form. The child shall not be admitted to employment before an appropriate minimum age; he shall in no case be caused or permitted to engage in any occupation or employment, which would prejudice his health or education, or interfere with his physical, mental or moral development.

Principle 10
The child shall be protected from practices. which may foster racial, religious and any other form of discrimination. He shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men.

In Juarez, the rights of children, as well as others, are being ignored at an alarming rate. Children in Juarez face an impoverished, dangerous, and unsafe childhood from which the government can offer no protection. The violcence in Juarez is random, all sides are mixed, and no one really knows who they are fighting. The government can not offer protection because they don’t know who they are protecting and who they are fighting, or when the violence is going to happen. Some of our own neighbors our Narco’s, there is nothing we can do but say “Good morning” when we walk by. When its dark outside children must go inside, not because they have school in the morning but because parents do not want them to be taken or killed.

Every day Nina and I listen to gunfire, and know that someone’s life is being taken. Last night there was over 30 gunshots at around 4A.M in the listening proximity of our house. On Friday there was a gunfight wih around ten shots. The violence here never ends.

*NOTE* I will add pictures from the march later today.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Juarez is in mourning

Juarez is in mourning. We all know that mourning is a process. For some healing comes after many tears, depression, questioning and pain. MPT has accompanied many families during this time of mourning.

One family had their 18 year old son, the youngest of 3 siblings, assassinated in front of their little store. The mother heard the shots and ran out only to see her son in a pool of blood. He was unrecognizable. She held him in her arms as he took his last breath.

The mother believes that death has cursed her. When she was very young her father died and being the oldest she had to help her mother raise her siblings. She said she worked very hard so that there would be food on the table. She married and when her children were very young her husband died and again she is left alone to raise the children. Now her 18 year old son was assassinated.

Another mother, with two precious little girls age 10 months and 2 years, was with her husband visiting a relative of his in the hospital. He received a call and proceeded to step out of the hospital where he was gunned down. Both the mother and the two year old need psychological help. She is from the southern part of Mexico and longs to be united with family, but paper work takes forever and meanwhile she has no income.

An 82 year old women witnessed the assassination of her nephew and her two sons; the the gunmen left saying that they had made a mistake! Her story is beyond words.

These are just a few of the families that MPT has accompanied. Last week at the grocery store while I was waiting in line a woman started a conversation with me after we both read the headlines of the paper: “Father comes home to find wife and children assassinated.” She proceeded to tell me that the 3 children she had with her had lost both their parents, they had been assassinated!

In this city of Juarez there have been 2,700 assassinations this year, October being the deadliest. The mourning that must be attended to will take months, years, it is said that there is no greater pain than the pain of a mother losing her child. How much more is the pain when the death is such a tragic death and so many parents have witnessed such deaths. Yes Juarez is in mourning.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Who will play with the children?

A group that has been working with the children in the colonias has as a goal to create a space for the children to  play together and respect each other, especially during this time of violence. Lately, one of the instructors has had some very difficult situations to deal with.
First, there was word that a white van had picked up two girls and fear was running high as word got around, the children were sent home early. On another occasion the Federales were looking for someone and were knocking at different homes, close to where the children were playing, their masked faces, and machine guns created an atmosphere of terror.
During another session a man appeared at the door and was ready to expose himself. On another occasion a thirteen year old that had been coming to the group and had received a death threat was actually picked up at 11:00 in the morning by armed men, the same instructor was meeting with a group of women when this occurred.
The fear that is growing in this colonia in the children, women and now their instructor is causing people to just want to go into their homes and lock their doors. Those who can move away do so.

Who will play with the Children? MPT has accompanied this group but will they continue to meet?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Friend of MPT sequestered in Juarez

A young man and I (Angie) have been working in the community and with youth since my arrival here in Juarez. A member of the center recommended that I talk to him because of his involvement with the youth and adolescents in the area. He, his wife, and I all enjoyed soccer and with that he started a local soccer tournament in the neighborhood of which we live. A few weeks back on the first day of the tournament, there was gunfire in the area, and a woman was killed. Last sunday after the tournmanet had ended he was kidnapped from his home. Those that kidnapped handled negotations for his release with the family, they requested 150,000 pesos for his ransom. The family paid his ransom and he has since fled from Juarez becuase he and his wife are in so much danger. This is so sad because he and his wife are some of the most amazing people I have met, and they were friends of mine. Finding out that he had been sequestered affected not only his family, the church, but myself and the community that he works in. The kids we work with are heartbroken, and confused because it makes no sense, serves no purpose, and there is nothing they can do about it, they just lost friends of their community. The gentleman and his wife rightfully and wisely are choosing not to return to Juarez, not even to gather their belongings from their house. A very large amount of people have been taken, secuestered, or murdered, it is the reality that people around here deal with every day.

Friday, November 5, 2010

MPT accompanies representatives of four colonias

On Friday November 5th MPT accompanied representatives from four different colonias to the "Presidencia Municipal". Representatives from four colonias came together through the popular committees in order to obtain improvements for their colonias to be safer. At 1030 we met the group outside of the Presidencia where they strategized and the signed the papers dictating their requests and needs. The group is requesting the government pave their streets, clean the parks and fields, provide assistance for manual labor(i.e giving trucks for the colonia to be able to haul trash away), and many other requests the people believe to be necesssary. The group walked inside with Angie towards the front and Nina further back. 10 women, 1 gentleman, and 1 child served the secretary with the papers and asked that they be given to Teto. The sectetary gave the representatives a slip of paper with the number they should call to follow up about the issues and their requests. Overall this experience was very relaxed, and empowering for the people that we accompanied.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

MPT accompanies Mass at the border

The Mass at the border has become a tradition, hundreds of people come together to pray on November 2nd (all souls day) for those who have lost their lives trying to cross the border. It is a most unique set-up because we may be celebrating together yet we are separated by a 10 foot high fence. There are those who come from the diocese of Las Cruces, and from El Paso on the USA side and then all the people from Juarez on the Mexican side.

Bishop Ricardo Ramirez started his homily speaking of the beauty of being together in the desert, and feeling the warmth of the rays of the sun. He said that in looking around we could see the fence that separated us but we could also see and feel the faith of the people that united us. We could also see the names on white crosses symbolizing those who have lost their lives.

Children participated, holding white balloons. They all released them together at the end of mass.

This year we also included all the victims that have lost their lives because of violence. We sang bi-lingual hymns and prayed as one. There was a prayerful festive atmosphere in spite of the border patrol being present. We are all one longing for peace.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Read the Lastest MPT Teams Newsletter on our Juarez Blog (Hint: Ticket Giveaway)

If you're having trouble viewing this email, you may see it online.
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Special Opportunity: New Technology and Branding Committee @MPT!

Calling All:
- Marketing folks
- Graphic Designers
- Web Designers
- Creative thinkers
- Tech Wizards
- IT professionals
- Social networking guru's, and more!

Join our Tech & Branding Committee. Meets just once a month -or- consider consulting on one project.  Build your resume & get great references!

@gmail.com or 517-484-3178.  
Tell her you saw it in the Teams Insider News!

MPT Blogs


Vol. 16, Edition 10
→ Signature Event Update and Win Tickets!

→ Adv Training Dates for 2011

→ Teams Now Forming
→ Coming Events

→ Resource Bar

News for those interested in joining an MPT International Peace Team, Team Support Volunteers, and Peace Team Veterans.

[Click 'Display Images' or 'See it Online' to display this email properly.]

Dear Team Member or Supporter,
Please scroll down for your regular news and updates--but before you do, please consider this brief note on  one way you can support the work of MPT: join us at our upcoming gala dinner!

Want to purchase a ticket, but still not sure you can afford one?  In order to join us, and support MPT's critical conflict intervention work, this month consider giving up just one of the following:
  • Two weeks of coffee at home, not coffee-shops
  • 3 movies with popcorn
  • two nights out to dinner
  • Bike don't Drive - Do it yourself, and ask two loved ones to skip a trip in the car each week; donate the money saved toward a ticket. 
  • Or: Ask your workplace, organization, place of worship to sponsor a ticket!
We at Michigan Peace Team are counting the days until our Signature event, Living Justice: Celebrating the Life and Work of Edward Said and Rachel Corrie The event will be held at the elegant Greenfield Manor of Dearbon, and will feature speakers Grace Said (sister of political and intellectual figure Edward Said) and Cindy Corrie (mother of Rachel.Corrie,  a young peace activitist killed working in the West Bank).  This is a not-to-be-missed event that will include a spectacular meal, an exquisite silent auction, great talks, and dabke dancing. 
We know that these are very challenging economic times, and yet the work has never been more important.  We are asking you to seriously consider making the sacrifice to support  MPT's work for peace. To order your tickets, send your check made out to Michigan Peace Team to Sr. Mary Ann Ford at 24071 Oneida, Oak Park, MI 48237 or purchase online at mptsigevent.blogspot.com. You can also call  Liz Walters at 517-484-3178 or 517-231-7403 for more information. 

We cannot guarantee seats after Nov. 3.  Tables are filling quickly . . . RESERVE YOUR SEAT TODAY.

In Peace,

Nicole Rohrkemper
International Team Deployment Coordinator
Michigan Peace Team

(586) 419-1070 (direct line)


*Applications are due this Sunday, October 31st, 2010*
Why: You need a ticket; we can always use committed volunteers.

How it works: Submit a half-page 'essay' (300 words or less), explaining why you should get the tickets.  You must include the following THREE THINGS:

1. Briefly state your Economic Need
(i.e. limited or no income, recent unemployment, student, etc.)

2.  Make a signficant and meaningful commitment to volunteering with MPT between now and March 1st, 2011, and tell us HOW you will participate.

Choose one or more projects below (or suggest your own):

  • Create a Wiki Page for MPT Advanced Trainings (must have tech know-how)
  • Become an assistant Trainer for MPT (hands-on, on-site learning required-- mostly weekends)
  • Volunteer for Team Training Roleplays 3x (usually in Lansing, MI on Saturdays)
  • Interview new MPT Team Members (domestic or international team veterans only, 1-2 hours per interview)
  • Serve on an International Teams Policy Committee, early 2011 (great for returned team members or anyone who is familiar with conflict intervention work)
  • Volunteer in the MPT office in Lansing (assist staff, data entry, phone calls, and more)
  • Virtual Volunteer located anywhere, to work with International Teams Coordinator (via email and phone) on team deployment projects, must be tech-savvy and have reliable internet access
  • Volunteer to cook for 2011 Advanced Trainin weekends
  • Detroit Metro Area Volunteer to work with International Teams Coordinator on team deployment projects
  • Stuff Evelopes for upcoming campaigns
  •  Commit to being an Anchor for an International Team for 1-3 months (International Team Veterans only, tell us what quarter of 2011: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall)
  • Or, suggest your own project to benefit MPT!

3.  List WHEN you are available to volunteer (Examples: weeknights? weekends? Fridays? Every other Thursday from 3-5? One Saturday a month?).

For more information about these volunteer opportunities, contact NicoleR.mpt@gmail.com by Friday.

When: Due by Sunday, October 31st at Midnight EST
Send your answers in an email or a .doc attachment to:
NicoleR.mpt@gmail.com.  If you want to apply with a hard copy, or can't use email to apply, contact Nicole at 586-419-1070 by Friday.
Winner will recieve two tickets to the MPT Signature Event, taking place in Dearborn, MI on November 5th, 2010.  Tickets have been donated by the generous Sponsors of the event.
Winner will be notified by Monday, November 1st, 2010.
Thank you and Good Luck!

Consider one of the Volunteer Projects listed to the left.
Regardless of who wins tickets, we need volunteers like YOU to continue the work you're reading about in this newsletter.
Even if you don't want the tickets, or don't win, we need folks to take on these projects.  Can you help?
Contact NicoleR.mpt
@gmail.com for more information or to volunteer for many of the projects listed to the left.
Or, to volunteer at the MPT office in Lansing, contact

Thank you to all of our committed volunteers!

Get ready to pack your bags and deploy as soon as this January!



  Palestine/Israel Winter 2011 (Jan- March)

This team is currently on hold due to lack of an Anchor/veteran team member to lead the team.  Without an anchor, a Winter team will not deploy, and prospectice Winter team membrs will be asked to consider joining the Spring Team in April (below). For general program info, see FAQs.  Training begins late Fall.  Contact  Nicoler.MPT@gmail.com. 
Palestine/Israel Spring 2011 (April - June)
  Apply Now; suggested application deadline is January 1, 2011See FAQs.  You are invited to begin training this fall, including out October Retreat (see info above)Contact  Nicoler.MPT@gmail.com. 

Palestine/Israel Summer and Fall 2011 
Apply early to begin training and preparation in plenty of time.  Join us to start your advanced training as soon as October 2010; contact  Nicoler.MPT@gmail.com for details.   
Juarez, Mexico Winter/Spring 2011
We are currently evaluating our 2011 program for Juarez.  We are taking provisional applications in the meantime; we invite you to apply early, so we can guage the size of a potential team.
Spanish Speakers Only (Intermediate OK). 

Need more Information? Contact Nicoler.MPT@gmail.com


Advanced Nonviolence Training
Weekend Intensives Scheduled for 2011!
Register or More Information on Idealist.org
(scroll down to Events List at bottom of Idealist link).
This training intensive is a great step toward being a key member of International or Domestic Peace Teams with MPT!  It's also wonderful for practicing everyday skills you can use for communication, conflict transformation and more-- at home, work and in your community.

Advanced Training is Now Open to everyone, not just International Team members! Learn advanced nonviolence skills, including intervention, affinity team building, communication tools, roleplay practice, and more. Advanced registration required for this Friday-Sunday intensive workshop (you chose the date that works for you, one of four + options per year).  To register or for more information and upcoming dates: NicoleR.MPT@Gmail.com.

More Info on Basic Trainings: Visit our

Advanced Trainings Curriculum Topics Include:
  • Role Plays
  • Consensus decision making
  • Affinity Teams
  • Power, Privilege and Oppression
  • Media and 'Telling the Story' Who is MPT?
  • Self Care (co-counseling, trauma, compassion fatigue, ritual, first aid etc.)
  • Getting to know oneself (hopes and fears, relationship to money, goals and expectations for trip, how do you deal w/ stress/conflict  etc.)
  • Getting to know the team and team building activities 
  • Listening and Communication tools (active listening, I messages, CLARA)
  • What are Peace Teams? What is nonviolent conflict resolution/third party nonviolent intervention? What is our role?
  • Nonviolence as a big picture, and What is nonviolence?
  • Location Specific Training @ second On-Site Retreat (background of conflict/brief history, cultural sensitivity, etc.) -- for International Team Applicants Only
  • Administrative Stuff, Forms, Tips and "nuts and bolts" info. (packing tips, MPT Forms, what we expect from you/what should you expect from us) -- for International Team Applicants Only.

More information on upcoming trainings, plus

Handy Contact Information 

International Team Info
Nicole Rohrkemper,
International Team Deployment Coordinator

Phone: (586) 419-1070

MPT Events and Basic Training
Michigan Peace Team
(Main Office)
808 W. Barnes
Lansing, MI 48910

Phone: (517) 484-3178
Nov 5th, 2010
MPT Signature Event
Gala Dinner, Auction, Awards and More!
Oct 30, 2010
Nonviolence Training
10am-5pm, Open to All!
540 E. Hackley, Muskegon, MI To register call Larry Shalda at 231-343-5559. Sliding scale $20-$40 to cover materials.
Dec 4, 2010
Basic Training
Metro Detroit Area Nonviolence Skills Training, Open to All! Details and Register @  Idealist.org.
Advanced Trainings 
(Weekend Retreat)
This weekend is the next step after Basic, and the first step to going on a team! Details (follow the link and click on your preferred date) @ Idealist.org.  
Feb 25-27, 2011
April 1-3, 2011
June 3-5, 2011
Aug 19-21 (Tentative)
Oct 14-16, 2011

 This is the Quick Reference Toolbar: Your 'Passport' to Tools and Information! 

Click the links or images below for more information.

For those interested in MPT International Teams.

(Hint: Take a Peek, even if you're not ready to apply!)

(Remember, teams fund-raise to cover their costs.  It's very possible to go on a team without paying out of pocket.)


Support Teams...

Click the photo above to see the form to join.  Select a "montly contribution" to be added to the Circle.
A monthly donation of:

$10 - pays for a basic training manual for someone new to nonviolence.

$30 - covers expenses for a DAY for an International Team Member.

$150 - enables HUNDREDS of low-income members to recieve our quaterly print Newsletter.

$3000 - pays for one international team member in the field for a month or more, including airfare!

Any amount is welcome-- $10, $50, $100 or more (or less!!!).

For more information about Sustainer's Circle or to join over the phone, contact Mary Hanna in our main office in Lansing at 517-484-3178 or maryhanna.mpt@gmail.com.
808 W. Barnes Ave. | Lansing, MI 48910 US

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

MPT accompanies group of Children and Teens

Tuesday night MPT accompanied a group with working youth and adolescents. At the beginning they discussed and made posters saying how they felt and what they thought about the recent murders of 14 women and children at a fiesta. They mentioned they were scared, it was bad, it wasn't right, and one girl said they killed my brother. Her 17 year old brother was assassinated as he sat outside of his house. Later in the night some kids practiced writing, others played with toys. Two girls came that do not usually attend the group; they were invited by one of the girls that assists the group. I along with others was outside of the house where kids were playing jump rope and talking. As we were talking I noticed two kids fighting, I interpositioned myself between them and asked them what the problem was. After coming to no resolution and them still wanting to fight, I tried to get them to talk with the leader of the classes. They refused and a young woman said "dont worry they won't fight anymore", I said okay, I hope your right. Ten minutes later another fight, the leader of the group came when I called for her and we got the two to calm down. As everyone was leaving a group of 6 or 7 started to walk towards their respective houses and one of the girls who had been in the previous fight, started to fight with another one of the girls from the group. I know the girl she started to fight with, and she and I have talked on many levels, I had never seen her be angry or fight with a single person. I interpositioned myself again, and walked her backwards away from the fight. The other girl kept trying to hit the girl that was with me and I ended up taking a punch in my shoulder. As I walked the girl away she clutched on to my arms like not only was she scared, but she was mad, and did not really know what to do. I talked to her and calmed her down, the woman who leads the group and I accompanied her and the kids to the hill where they would walk home just to ensure that no more fights happened. Later the woman who leads the group asked that the two girls not be invited back to the group unless they were willing to respect the rules. "This is a group for fun and education. If they want to come they can not fight or use bad language".

Overall the experience with this group was very nice, through talking with the kids I have gotten to know some of them, and they are great kids, they just live in a really rough part of Juarez. I asked them about school, what they wanted to be as an adult, what they thought about the recent murders. The kids are extremely mature for their age, and they understand the situation that is happening around them.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In Solidarity

Every year the parish of Ste Anne's in Detroit have a theme for the altar they prepare for all souls day which is celebrated the second of November.They have dedicated the altar to the veterans, to all the victims in nine eleven etc. This year they will be in solidarity with the hundreds of families that have lost daughters in Juarez. The altar will be dedicated to the girls who's lives were ended at a young age and violently. The mystery of these dissapperance and tragic deaths continues today with no answers. A distraught, brave mother has started a group of mothers who suffer the same plight. Together they encourage each other,to work and seek justice. This is just one of the many painful realities that Juarez is living at this time.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

MPT accompanies march for Medical Personnel

On Friday October 22nd MPT accompanied a march for medical personnel who have been killed in Juarez due to the on going violence. The violence has been spreading through every part of daily life in mexico. Drug dealers and Cartels extort businesses, teachers, doctors, hospitals, families, groups working for human rights, employees of the government. There is no escape in Juarez from the cartels, there is no safe house, no justice system, no system of security for the people. unfortunately when a Cartel or Gang member puts a "hit" (ordered murder) out on someone, they expect the job to be finished and completed. Any victims of a shooting who are brought to the hospital, are now being killed along with doctors and nurses inside the hospital. Hundreds of people showed up in order to show support for those who have lost their lives, and those who are fighting for justice. Doctors, nurses, rescue workers, 32 organizations, and a few hundred people marched from a local shopping mall to a government building. Nina and I marched on opposite sides observing not only the number of police officers that were accompanying and guarding this protest, but the people who were involved in the march itself. We had a very high number of police officers accompanying the protest, I could not come to a reason as to why. The people were extremely calm, sad, and angry. Their anger was not directed as putting more people in pain but at finding a solution to the violence.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Let's Dance

A group of women were so tired of hearing bad news and were tired of constantly being offered classes to analyze the reality that they said:’’ We need something to help us deal with living this painful reality. We need something to help us with all this stress. Some have had family members killed, some have had neighbors killed.”So after much persistence t hey were heard, and a workshop on free movement was offered. I accompanied them and we all had a most pleasant 3 hours of dancing to music that helped you just flow like water, music that helped you release tightness that is being held in your body, music that helped you imagine beauty surrounding you, we all danced and danced sometimes with our eyes open and other times looking into each other’s eyes. During the session we were all put into groups of five and given a piece of paper. We each had a chance to dance and those in your small group who observed you wrote five words about what they saw in your dance. We then used those words to write a poem. Many spoke of the peace they felt from the tension that they are living. One woman had to be taken to emergency that evening because the dance didn’t begin to heal the stress she is living in and was hospitalized at the brink of a stroke. I am amazed at the resiliency of women who have known so much pain and am most grateful to dance with them and being part of their healing process.