A Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity
The National Alliance of Latin American & Caribbean Communities (NALACC) speaks out for immigrants in a coast to coast tour offering bi-national solutions to halt drug war violence.
CHICAGO, IL – The National Alliance of Latin American & Caribbean Communities (NALACC) is joining forces with Mexico’s Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD), co-led by Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, on the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity, a broad binational coalition embarking from San Diego, CA on Sunday Aug. 22, 2012.
The Caravan will travel 6,000 miles across the United States raising awareness of the human costs of the war on drugs and the social havoc wreaked by violence in Mexico and the United States. In each city along the way, the Caravan will be welcomed by local communities, who have planned rallies, marches, candlelight vigils, forums, performance art and more.
Parents, children, and siblings who have lost their dear ones because of the spiral of violence in Mexico will travel aboard the Caravan from coast to coast trying to touch the hearts of the American people, including those of the migrant communities, before culminating on Sept. 12, 2012 in International Day of Action in Washington, D.C.
NALACC is taking part of the Caravan, along with other 100 U.S. civil society organizations, not only as a sign of solidarity with our brothers and sisters from Mexico, but also as a way to continue advancing its own “Somos/We Are” initiative, which shares the same goal: to humanize the debate of policies that affect directly the immigrant communities in the United States.
Through “Somos/We Are”, NALACC tell the human story of immigrants in the United States, while promoting a decriminalization of migration and pressing for a immigration reform in tune with the reality of the 21st century.
“The war on drugs and U.S. national security are used cynically as a political justification by those who seek to demonize immigrants”, said Oscar Chacón, Executive Director of NALACC. “We need to change the false narrative about who we are as immigrants, where we came from, and why. The Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity provides the opportunity to hear the stories of our brothers and sisters, and to tell our own stories.”
An end to both the militarization of the border and the criminalization of immigrants is one of five solutions proposed by the Caravan in order to stop the violence and its ramifications in Mexico and the United States. The other proposed solutions are: the exploration of alternatives to drug prohibition; a halt to the illegal smuggling of weapons across the border to Mexico; concrete steps to combat money laundering; and the immediate suspension of U.S. assistance to Mexico’s armed forces.
The war on drugs has left more than 60,000 dead in Mexico in the last five years, and resulted in over 50,000 Americans behind bars for drug offenses. The Caravan opens the possibility to initiate a transnational debate among the stakeholders searching for a new paradigm of “human security”, whose main criterion should be the well-being of the people.
“Militarization of the border, allegedly a tool to enhance security, has only led to more violence and suffering of immigrants and their families,” said Jose Luis Gutierrez, NALACC’s Co-Director for Transnational Affairs.
“This country’s obsolete and deeply inhumane immigration policies, combined with the demand for cheap labor here in the United States, contribute to a paradox in which immigration is criminalized even as it forms an essential part of the current economic model,” he added.