Mujeres Talk

For the Women of Ciudad Juarez

MALCS Member Rosa-Linda Fregoso read the December 3, 2012 Mujeres Talk essay on Human Trafficking legislation and wanted to share her own essay “For the Women of Ciudad Juárez” from FeministWire on memorials to the murdered and disappeared women of Juárez: 

By Rosalinda Fregoso
Crossposted from The Feminist Wire, 12/3/12

In late September of 2012, we gathered at the site where the remains of eight murdered women and girls were found in an open field known as el Campo Algodonero (The Cottonwood Field), located across from the maquiladora industry’s headquarters in Ciudad Juárez. Since the discovery of their bodies eleven years ago this November, Campo Algodonero has been an “unofficial memorial,” a gathering site for public art installations, performances, and protests denouncing the ongoing terror of feminicide in the border region. This year, the site became an “official memorial” funded by the government after an international court found Mexico guilty of negligence in the Ciudad Juárez feminicides.

Claudia Yvette González, Laura Berenice Ramos Monárrez, Esmeralda Herrera Monreal, María de los Angeles Acosta Ramírez, Mayra Juliana Reyes Solís, Verónica Martínez Hernández, Merlín Elizabeth Rodríguez Sáenz, María Rocina Galicia

The last time I stood here, Campo Algodonero was a barren field, the only objects on its grounds were eight crosses painted in the iconic pink, each bearing a slain woman or girl’s name. The crosses are still standing although now encircled by the walls of the newly configured memorial site, a small urban park bordered to one side by a heavily-trafficked boulevard, to the other by two newly-built apartment complexes which overlook the park’s interior space. Our tour guide to the Campo Algodonero memorial site is Dr. Julia Monárrez, lead expert on feminicide and researcher at the COLEF (Colegio de la Frontera-Norte), where a two-day international seminar on “Bodies and Borders” had just taken place. When the eight of us arrived in the late afternoon the memorial site was empty, despite the bustling sounds of street traffic, police sirens, dogs barking, children playing.

The Campo Algodonero memorial is clean and unassuming, three undulating walls mark its perimeters, separating the park from the exterior urban scape, its sandstone colored walls, paths, blue-mosaic waterways and curving walkway leading to polished marble-top stone benches appear to be designed as spaces for public and private reflection. The park’s architecture draws visitors to four major focal points.

To the right of the entrance, a plaque dedicates the memorial “To the memory of the women and girl victims of gender violence in Ciudad Juárez.” At our next stop, the names of the women found at Campo Algodonero (Claudia Yvette González, Laura Berenice Ramos Monárrez, Esmeralda Herrera Monreal, María de los Angeles Acosta Ramírez, Mayra Juliana Reyes Solís, Verónica Martínez Hernández, Merlín Elizabeth Rodríguez Sáenz, María Rocina Galicia) are engraved on a wall, in a marble-encased panel. The adjacent memory wall is partially filled with names of additional women who were murdered in the city. Next we faced the shrine bearing a large cross, painted in the iconic pink, a tribute to and recognition of the mothers’ cross campaign for justice. Finally, at the far side of the memorial site, we reached the large bronze scupture, “Flor de Arena,” designed by Chilean artist Veronica Leiton.

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