EIGHT WOMEN WHO SHOULD BE HONORED
Until recently, Mexico’s President, Andrés Manual López Obrador (AMLO) has appeared to be invincible. Neither the high level of violence, the weak economy nor the virulence of the pandemic has damaged his popularity. But this may be changing given his treatment of women. His immediate problem is his support for Felix Salgado, candidate for governor of the state of Guerrero who is accused of violating several women.
AMLO has said that this is just political and hasn’t withdrawn his support for Salgado. As a result, there were intense demonstrations on March 8, the International Day of Women and many people were injured in Mexico City. Why not therefore celebrate the important work of Mexican women? Here are eight from Juárez and Palomas.
She founded Reto a la Juventud 49 years ago, a program for young women struggling with drugs and prostitution. More than 1,600 women have participated.
She and her husband, Gerardo founded Los Ojos de Dios, an orphanage that treats the most handicapped children. She was the one who persuaded then-President Felipe Calderón to provide health care to orphans for whom there was no documentation.
She has been a leader in the Fundación Mascareñas for more than thirty years, a program that provides college scholarships for talented Mexican kids from the Juárez area. Established in 1988, it has provided 3,100 scholarships or about 100 a year. 309 of these scholarship recipients have gone on to get either master’s degrees or PhDs.
She is the teacher for a small school for Tarahumara kids in a deeply impoverished “colonia” on the west edge of Juárez. The work is especially difficult because many of the kids don’t speak Spanish, only their indigenous dialect. It’s a lonely location for a young woman but when we asked her if she missed her family, she pointed to her students and said, “This is my family.”
Sister Betty Campbell
She came to Juárez twenty-five years ago with Father Peter Hinde who died of the COVID late last year and together they founded Tabor House. She has continued her work with the women in her neighborhood as well as assisting Padre Javier Calvillo at La Casa del Migrante.
In Palomas, she and her husband, Sergio have maintained the Pink Store near the port of entry for more than 25 years. In addition to its excellent food, their store is full of pottery and artifacts from all over Mexico. Out of loyalty to their employees and to the many artists who depend on them, they kept the store open through the most violent years, even though tourism from the United States had almost completely disappeared.
She was the “suplente “to Mayor Tanys Garcia. When he was murdered, however, she took over as mayor or “Presidente Municipal” and tried to clean up the corruption in the city police force. One day she was forced off the road and several men took her away in their car.
“If you don’t restore two police officers to their jobs,” she was told, “we will kill you.” Assuming that she would be killed no matter what she did, López said, “No.” The kidnappers finally released her and said that if she had been a man, they would have killed her.
She is the matriarch of a huge family – children and grandchildren – but she has always found time to help others in need, especially older people who have been abandoned by their families. Here she is with a man named Chago who had been living on the streets.
These eight women symbolize the strength and importance of women on the frontier. They deserve the support of their president.
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