I have been selected by Young Adults in Global Mission to participate in a year-long volunteer project to Mexico. Nearly 50 volunteers across the United States will walk journeys similar to my own through this program, but each will have a unique path. My own path will take me to the city of Cuernavaca, Mexico beginning August 17th.
My placement is with La Red por la Paz y la Justicia. (English via Google Translate)
It is a movement by the Mexican people which speaks out against violence. Javier Sicilia is the spokesperson for the movement and became so after his son, Juan, was murdered. The movement organized the National March for Peace --on May 8th, 2011-- which drew around 150,000 participants to march in Mexico City. The movement is quickly gaining international recognition and is a face for the Mexican people for not only the end of violence --both drug related and other-- but addresses both the need for respectful human rights and the lack of response by authorities to create comprehensive change. "La Red" recognizes and calls out the need for significant systemic change and recognizes that within that system, people still need be treated as individuals, not as utility values and numbers.
I shall take the position of administrative support staff. I have been called to walk alongside these people and their movement. This will harbor challenges due to the nature of the movement as well as the legality --or in this case illegality-- of not being able to participate in any of their demonstrations. The Mexican constitution expressly prohibits political activity by foreign nationals while they are in Mexico.
I take this placement with the deep conviction that the mission of "La Red" is one that affects Mexico --and perhaps the world-- in a way that indeed leads to justice and peace. Did Jesus not call each of us to love our neighbor? While this movement belongs to the people of Mexico, the end of violence and injustice is a call to each of us! I can find solidarity with them in this.
This coming year, I shall share bread with the people of "La Red". The question is: How will that bread be shared among us?