When Esther Chavez Cano first organized protests in 1993 in Ciudad Juarez, hers was the initiating voice against “femicide,” a term given to the murder of hundreds of women in this border town. She accused local police and political leaders of covering up the murders and chided local media for not paying enough attention to the crimes. And her protests led to international attention on the murder of women and girls in Juarez.
But Chavez was more than simply an organizer. She was also a healer. She went on to found the city’s first rape crisis center known simply as Casa Amiga. She traveled the world raising awareness of the murders in Juarez, and raising money for the center. In 2008, Mexican President Felipe Calderón presented Chavez with the country’s highest human rights award. Her center also receives support by Mexican federal grants.
Chavez succumbed to cancer on Christmas Day, 2009. El Paso reporter Monica Ortiz Uribe has this remembrance.
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