Attn SOSS PhDs: Invitation to event. Mexico in Pain: 43 Missing Students, 14th Nov at St.Peter’s Chaplaincy

I am herein sending you an invitation to the forthcoming event entitled “Mexico in Pain: 43 Missing Students”, taking place on 14th November at St. Peter’s Chaplaincy, Oxford Road ( See more details in the attached poster).

We thought you would be interested, as the conference topics include: social movements in Latin America, political and human rights violations, education, rural education, social conflicts, and socialist student organization in Mexico amongst others.

The creation of training colleges for Rural Teachers in Mexico were an outcome of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). The main goal of these Colleges was to bring education to the countryside areas, whilst at the same time providing a source of employment in rural communities, thus helping to combat poverty in the short and medium term. However, by the middle of the 1940’s, successive governments began to reduce their support for these colleges. As a result, only a few colleges still exist to offer education to the poorest communities in the Mexican countryside. Historically, graduates of these colleges have become social leaders in their own villages and regions. Increasingly in the past few decades, the student teachers from these colleges are well known for initiating and supporting social and political movements. As a consequence of their role in campaigning for the legitimate rights of their respective communities, these students have often become victims of institutional discrimination.

The most recent action against them took place on the 26th of September 2014, when the local police of Iguala, in the Guerrero state of Mexico, shot and killed 6 people, and abducted 43 rural student teachers. The abducted students were in their first year at the Ayotzinapa Rural Teacher’s School. Witnesses describe how the student teachers were taken away by municipal police, who are said to have later handed the captive teachers over to armed gangs. Since the abductions, their families have understandably been distressed, a situation made worse by the apparent lack of urgency of any sort by the local or state governments in finding out where the students had been taken.

This horrific abduction of the student teachers of Ayotzinapa has also brought to light the fact that the Mayor of Iguala, and many other politicians, have come to use the money and private ‘armed’ gangs of drug cartels to suppress opposition activities of ordinary civilians. Because of these tragic actions against the Ayotzinapan students, amidst an ongoing catalogue of human rights violations in the country, there have been constant and growing numbers of solidarity actions and protests taking place across Mexico and many countries around the world. These attacks on the student teachers of Ayotzinapa have, as a consequence, given rise to a new and broader social movement in Mexico.

We are therefore inviting you to attend a conference in solidarity with the students and families in Ayotzinapa. Our first speaker is Tanalis Padilla, Associate Professor of History at Dartmouth College. She is regarded as a specialist in Rural Education in the post-revolutionary period. Our second speaker, being transmitted out over Skype, will be with a student from Ayotzinapa Rural School. We will also be showing some short video clips. Latin American food will be included in the price of admission. All proceeds after costs will be donated to the families of the missing in Ayotzinapa.

Kind regards,

Manchester for Ayotzinapa (Find us on Facebook as ‘Manchester for Ayotzinapa)

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