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Mexico’s ‘Day of the Dead’ Turns into Protests Against Gender-Based Violence

Mexico’s Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is full of rich history and gratitude. In a colorful and joyful manner, Dia de los Muertos is a demonstration of love, respect, and commemoration of deceased family members. The ancient celebration has long been a cultural staple of Mexican life, but this year, a group of women in Mexico City reminded the world of the injustice behind those deaths.

On November 3, the day after Dia de los Muertos celebrations ended, demonstrators marched throughout Mexico City proclaiming Dia de Muertas, or Day of the Dead Women. The demonstration’s intent was to raise awareness of the country’s growing femicide problem and to call for an end to violence against women. It was organized by Frida Guerrera, a journalist, and activist who leads “Voices of Absence,” a group focused on demanding justice for women killed because of their gender.

According to stats from the United Nations (UN), femicide in Latin America kills 12 women on a daily basis. Along with having one of the highest rates of gender-related killing on the planet, 98 percent of these cases go unprosecuted across Latin America. In Mexico specifically, a decades-long wave of violence against women has rendered 56 percent of the country’s territory unsafe for women. 

Women participating in the demonstration carried over 100  purple crosses as they marched, each one decorated with the name of a woman who has disappeared or been murdered. The color purple has long been associated with domestic abuse and violence against women and is used not just to call attention to those demanding justice, but to unify them. It also symbolizes survivors who continue to thrive despite their circumstances. 

Dia de Muertas has amassed a digital campaign where people are encouraged to raise awareness on femicide, to urge the government to take action, and to stand in solidarity with victims and survivors alike. On their site, founders of the Dia de Muertas movement write: “We do not want to change the way we remember loved ones, we respect beautiful customs, but we cannot allow the death of thousands of women every year to be banalized or go unnoticed.”

Featured Image by tetrabrain on Flickr

Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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