skip navigation

In Memoriam: Esther Chavez Cano

12/25/2009

Esther Chávez Cano is world-renowned human rights activist and long time Vagina Warrior who, for over ten years brought international attention to the horrific violence committed against women and girls in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Since 1993, over 600 women and girls have been murdered in Juarez. Chavez worked tirelessly to assist the families of these women, and to help other survivors of violence through her work as founder of Casa Amiga, a domestic violence and rape crises center. In just ten years Casa Amiga has sheltered thousands of survivors of sexual crimes and other types of violence in the border region of Chihuahua, Mexico and provides psychological counseling, medical assistance, and legal aid for the survivors of domestic violence and incest.

Through Casa Amiga, Ms. Chávez Cano brought much needed education to the public on the rights of women and girls, and violence prevention. Ms. Chavez created a model, both nationally and internationally for empowering survivors of violence. She was the recipient of the 2008 National Human Rights Prize in Mexico (El Premio Nacional de los Derechos Humanos).

Esther passed away on December 25, 2009. Eve wrote this memoriam in her honor:

Esther Chávez Cano died early this morning, December 25, 2009. My heart hurts. I cannot imagine this world without her. She was a fierce activist and a huge part of our V-Day movement. She literally changed the world for women in Juárez, bringing the struggle of the raped, the disappeared, the discarded women and girls to global attention. She was tireless in her struggle, opening a transformational center, Casa Amiga where women were healed and empowered, taking on the authorities, often endangering her own life. Even in these last years when she was fighting cancer she remained in the struggle. One of my greatest memories of Esther is when we marched together in Juárez, thousands coming from all over the country and the world to demand justice and freedom. She gave her life for the women and girls of Juárez. She taught me about service and humility and kindness. She was a force in our movement, a leader and a beacon and we will miss her terribly.

- Eve Ensler

In Esther’s name, we need to keep the struggle for justice for women and girls in Juarez going.

By request of the Chávez Family, it is asked that donations in Esther's memory be sent to Casa Amiga in memory of Mrs. Esther White Chávez:

Banco Santander, Account #: 65-50227820-0, KEY 014164655022782007 To: CASA AMIGA CENTER OF CRISIS AC 1427 Suc. Place the Towers CD. Juárez, Chih. P.c. 32575

READ news coverage:
The El Paso Times: “Advocate for women was 'leader, beacon'” (12/25/09) http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_14078860?source=most_emailed

Los Angeles Times: “Esther Chavez dies at 76; activist decried murders of women in Ciudad Juarez” (12/25/09) http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-esther-chavez27-2009dec27,0,2288127.story

READ articles on recent cases of missing and murdered women in Juarez:

NPR: “Fear Descends On Ciudad Juarez As Girls Go Missing” (03/06/09)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101479041

Los Angeles Times: “In Ciudad Juarez, young women are vanishing” (08/09/09)
http://articles.latimes.com/2009/aug/09/world/fg-juarez-missing9

READ about V-Day’s 2004 Spotlight Women in Juarez:
http://www.vday.org/spotlight2004

Eve Ensler and Amnesty International March on Juarez to Stop the Murder of Young Women >