On 19 May, there was held a new type of meeting in San Cristóbal de las Casas to denounce and make-visible the increase in femicide in the state.
As an initiative of the Popular Campaign against Violence against Women and Femicide in Chiapas and the Art Action and Red Sources collectives, activists and family-members joined up to embroider in Resistance and Peace Plaza after setting up an altar with flowers and candles. Sewing Femicide is part of the Sewing for Peace initiative, and it has its origins in the end of the prior presidential administration of Felipe Calderón, when the idea was to sew a handkerchief for each person killed in the drug war. This project, begun in Mexico in 2012, now has support from other countries, given that embroidery for resistance has been taking place also in Guatemala, Argentina, and even Europe.
This type of protest seeks to call attention to a peaceful and unique action in public space. It also seeks to personalize and give voice to women who have victimized by femicide, so that they do not remain in anonymity: in the sewn handkerchiefs, all have a proper presence, with their name, age, and date of death sewn in. Finally, the sewing has therapeutic function for family-members of those killed by femicide. By engaging in embroidery, they have an intimate moment with their lost ones and can share their pain and memories with others who have experienced the same as they pass through the space in downtown San Cristóbal. Tourists also can approach these women to learn about what they are doing.
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Chiapas: State complicity in femicide is denounced (2 May 2014)
Chiapas: Commemoration of the murder of Itzel Janet Méndez-Pérez and other victims of femicide (26 April 2014)
Chiapas: Amidst increase in femicide and impunity, civil organization proclaims permanent Gender Alert (30 March 2014)
National: Multiple activities for International Women’s Day (16 March 2014)