Students, community members stand in solidarity for students in Mexico

Attendees were asked to wear black for the 43 students.

More than 60 students and community members holding candles stood at the Hispanic American Leadership Organization’s Wednesday night vigil in Speakers Circle in recognition of the 43 Mexican students who have gone missing since September.

Authorities identified the remains of one of the victims this past weekend.

The Mexican students were traveling by bus to an anti-government protest when they went missing. Their disappearance is believed by many to have been retaliation against their political views on the part of police officers in the area, 44 of whom have been arrested in relation to the case.

The vigil attendees held signs reading, "Justice," "#YaMaCansé" (meaning "I'm already tired") or simply "43."

"This is a real issue," HALO President Andrew Abarca said. "There are a lot of things happening in the U.S., but we have to recognize that there are college students just like us in another country whose voices can never be heard. I think it's very important for people to understand that people die or are kidnapped and the citizens of Mexico have nowhere to turn."

The organizers read news articles about the victims and spoke about the importance of the events.

Robert Garcia, a man from Mexico who is on academic stay in St. Louis and happened to be visiting MU the day of the vigil, said events like these are important in a community.

"We need to be a community now, and this is a demonstration of that," Garcia said. "We are breaking the solitude."

The event's main goal, HALO member Estefania Barron said, was to raise awareness for this issue.

"You would be surprised how many people, even in the Hispanic-American community, don't know about it," Barron said. "When people don't know about something, that's very dangerous. That means everything the students went through is in vain. As long as we're not informed, the bad guys are going to keep doing what they're doing."

Abarca said he hopes more students will be aware of what is going on around the world.

"I hope it sparks conversations about government corruption and police brutality," Abarca said. "And not just discussions but actions. A lot of people believe sending a tweet can solve these issues, but it takes more than that. If there's no action behind it, there's really nothing you're doing."

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