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Concerns Spread Over Juarez Murders

Originally published in:
Associated Press

The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO Nov. 24 - A pink blouse, a frilly yellow child's frock and other pastel-colored clothing dangle from the ceiling. Beneath the dresses, shoes lie haphazardly among dead flower petals.

In artist Adrian Arias' homage to the women of Juarez, Mexico, the hanging clothes are a reminder of hundreds of missing or murdered girls. The scattered shoes recall those found in the desert where their raped, mutilated and beaten bodies were often abandoned.

The slayings of more than 250 women in the city just across the border from El Paso, Texas, began a decade ago. But recently, growing outrage over the killings has spread to places far from Juarez, including the San Francisco cultural center where Arias' haunting tableau is on display through Wednesday.

"There's a lot of silence around this problem," said Arias, a 42-year-old videographer, artist and poet.

"This has been going on for the past 10 years and there hasn't been anything done to resolve the problem. As an artist, I feel I need to do something to be near the families who miss their sisters, their daughters, their friends."

In recent months, protesters have called attention to the murders by carrying signs that read "Not one more" and "Justice for our daughters" outside Mexican consulates in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Austin, El Paso and other cities around the world.

Last month, a congressional delegation led by U.S. Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif., visited sites where the victims' bodies were found and spoke with their families.

And in February and March, benefit performances of "The Vagina Monologues" around the world will each donate up to 10 percent of proceeds to help families of Juarez victims. The shows, coordinated by nonprofit V-Day, will feature a new monologue about the killings by playwright Eve Ensler and provide information about them to audience members.

"I feel really, really compelled now to do everything I can to stop what's happening there, and to get America to stop it," Ensler said, adding that she's had trouble sleeping since returning from a recent trip to Juarez to research a magazine story.