Students have probably noticed the elaborate display in front of Norlin Library last week, which featured dozens of pink crosses adorned with lacy dresses. The exhibit was part of Latina sorority Pi Lambda Chi’s 15th Annual Women of Juárez Awareness Campaign, which featured several events throughout the week.
The Boulder chapter of the sorority was recognized in 1994 and strives to preserve Latina/o culture and history in Boulder, as well as educate fellow Buffs about the Latina/o community surrounding the campus. Last week’s display aimed to raise awareness about femicide in Juárez, Mexico and other parts of the world.
According to Pi Lambda Chi, femicide is defined as “the act of killing a woman, as by a domestic partner or a member of a criminal enterprise.” Many of these murders occur in the borderlands of El Paso, Texas, and Juárez, Mexico. There is a higher rate of femicide in areas where drug trafficking occurs.
In order to spread the word about this problem, the sorority set up a display of pink crosses on Norlin Quad outside the library in remembrance of the lives that have been lost due to femicide.
Passerby read signs with facts about femicide and the situation in Juárez, which has been called the “capital city of murdered women.”
According to the signs, the violence in the city began in 1993. Since then, Amnesty International estimates that about 400 women have been murdered. Most of these women worked in maquiladores, or sweatshops.
Of the 400 deaths, less than 100 bodies have been recovered from the desert outskirts where the killers abandon them. Most of the murder cases have yet to be solved due to the corrupt nature of the city’s police department. Often, police turn families of victims away when they report that a loved one is missing.
In addition to the Norlin Quad memorial, the sisters held a Rice Krispie Treats sale this Monday next to the Roser ATLAS Building on campus in order to raise money for Casa Amiga, a safe house in Juárez that provides services to at-risk women and children.
The group also held a special event Thursday night titled “Femicides in Juárez & Around the World – How do we Solve the Problem?”
The event, which was open to the public, served as a discussion about global femicide and included a presentation by award-winning author Stella Pope Duarte.
Duarte is known for her novel If I Die in Juárez, a story based on interviews with family members of women who were murdered in Juárez.
Angie Chavez, co-president of Pi Lambda Chi, thinks the actions of her organization helped bring this issue to the attention of students.
“[Duarte] definitely opened our eyes to how realistic [a goal] this actually is,” she said. “We hope the students who came to our event really learned something. I know personally I am inspired by Stella’s story.”
Contact CU Independent News Staff Writer Eliza Radeka at Eliza.Radeka@colorado.edu.