Senator Janet Nguyen Meets Families of Forty-Three Missing Mexican College Students

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Today, State Senator Janet Nguyen was humbled to meet the families of the forty-three missing Mexican college students who disappeared on their way to a protest last September. The families traveled to California as part of the “Caravana 43” project, which aims to provide an international forum to inform the American public and news media about the tragic events that led to the disappearance of the 43 students.

“When I first learned of the events that transpired in Iguala last fall, I was heartbroken,” said Senator Janet Nguyen. “As a mother and as someone who fled from Vietnam searching for basic human rights, I condemn any act of violence, especially against those who seek to exercise their freedom of expression. What happened to the sons of these families is an intolerable assault against the basic principles of freedom.”

According to reports, on September 26, 2014 students from the rural Ayotzinapan Normal School were on their way to protest a conference in the City of Iguala, Mexico. The students were seeking to draw attention to the Mexican government’s alleged discriminatory hiring and funding practices for rural colleges. It is reported that the students were intercepted by local police and kidnapped at the request of Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca, who wanted to prevent the students from demonstrating at the conference, which was hosted by his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda. After an extensive investigation and protests throughout the country, Mexico’s Attorney general reported that the students had been murdered.

“I was humbled to have the opportunity to spend a few moments with the families of the students today and to share with them my deepest sympathies for all that they have suffered,” said Senator Janet Nguyen. “I hope that we can ensure that no student or individual is ever silenced again for seeking to express opinions about their government. Freedoms of expression are at the very core of democracy and we need to protect them.”

The “Caravana 43” project consists of three caravans that will travel to over forty U.S. cities, from the U.S./Mexico border along the Pacific, Central and Atlantic region states. Once all cities have been visited, the groups plan to converge in Washington and New York City.

Senator Nguyen has previously expressed her solidarity with the families by supporting Senate Resolution 7, which draws attention to the many disappearances in Mexico and condemns the human rights violations occurring in Mexico.

Senator Nguyen with Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia meet with the family members of the 43 missing college students.

Senator Nguyen speaks with the mother of one of the missing students.

Poster each depicting one of the missing 43 college students.