Lifesaver for ages 9 and up -- Mexico: Raise your voice for 42 missing students
These are identification photos of the students abducted by police and gunmen in September. They and their families need your help.
Is it a crime to be a student and dream of one day becoming a teacher? Is it a crime to speak up for the right to education for all children so they can have a better future?
On September 26, 2014, a group of students were heading to a nearby town from their teacher-training school in Ayotzinapa (pronounced I ot zi napa). They planned to raise funds for their education and take part in a peaceful rally to defend the rights of all students.
Without warning, police and gunmen attacked the bus the students were travelling in. Three students were killed. More than 40 others were taken away. Their families have not seen them again.
Investigators have done too little, too late to find the students and protect them from harm.
That’s why thousands of other students across Mexico, and their families too, have taken part in marches. Many hold signs that say: “We are all students” and “Justice for Ayotzinapa”. They know that if this crime goes unpunished, no one is safe and it could happen again.
The Mexican government cares about its reputation in countries like Canada that trade with Mexico and send tourists who spend money in Mexico. What Canadians think and say can influence what happens in Mexico.
The families and classmates of the Ayotzinapa students have asked the world to help. Will you speak up for the students of Ayotzinapa?
What can I do?
Capture the attention of Mexico’s president.
First, choose a pencil. It is a symbol of students everywhere.
Then, on a sheet of paper, write a polite message to President Enrique Peña Nieto.
• Start your letter with Dear President.
• Write a sentence to describe yourself and where you are from, for example, “I am a 10 year old student who goes to Deerpark School in Lindsay, Canada.” This sentence personalizes your message and gives it more power.
• Write a sentence that describes how you feel about what happened to the students of Ayotzinapa, for example, “It was terrible to learn about the killing and abduction of students from Ayotzinapa on September 26th, 2014.”
• Then ask the president to find the missing students and bring to justice everyone who took part in the attack on them. Be sure to sign your name.
Now fold your paper in half and wrap it around your pencil. Secure it with an elastic band or gift ribbon (you may wish to choose red, white and green ribbon, the colours of the Mexican flag).
Send your pencil and message to Amnesty International. We will deliver them in a big box to the Mexican government. We will ask the President to read all the messages and then forward the pencils to the teacher-training school in Ayotzinapa.
Pencils for Mexico
1992 Yonge Street, 3rd Floor
Toronto, ON M4S 1Z7
Postage: 85 cents
Ayotzinapa is in a state of Mexico where there is a lot of poverty. Indigenous people living there are not treated nearly as well as other citizens. Many Canadians travel to the same state each year to enjoy tourist resorts, like Acapulco, along the coast.