MEXICO CITY — Feminist activists announced plans for a national day of action against gender-based violence that will take place on Sunday April 24, including a Mexico City march that will begin in the State of Mexico and end at the capital’s Ángel de Independencia statue.
“I’m sure the first question is ‘how are so many marvelous women coming together for action on the same day?,’” said performance artist and event organizer Minerva Valenzuela at a press conference in Mexico City’s Punto Gozadera feminist community center, regarding organizers’ plans to stage protests in more than 40 Mexican cities against recent waves of hate crimes against women.
The collective action will be called #24A, after the date and month during which it will take place.
Valenzuela and her fellow organizers didn’t answer the question she posited with much specificity. Instead, they stressed that a diverse coalition of women and collectives — not all of whom identify as feminist — felt that it was time to take to the streets. They said no political party or established group had taken the reins in the planning process.
Mexico has recently been generating much conversation over the rights of women in public spaces. Journalist Andrea Noel’s security video of a man flipping up her skirt and attempting to lower her underwear, in the middle of the afternoon in upper class Mexico City neighborhood Condesa, went viral, causing an ensuing wave of internet harassment geared at the writer that eventually caused her to leave the country fearing her own personal safety.
Other activists like performance group Hijas de Violencia and artist Mónica Mayer have recently been involved in projects that call attention to street harassment in Mexico.
Last week, Noel released a video with fellow gender-based violence victims Yakiri Rubio and Gabriela Nava entitled #NoTeCalles, encouraging women to denounce their assailants and bring them to justice.
No hard statistics are available to indicate the gravity of the situation, but many women feel that verbal abuse, groping and other disrespectful behavior is on the rise in Mexico’s city streets.
A United Nations report in 2015 placed Mexico among the top 25 countries in the world with the highest murder rate of women. The report said that between 2007 and 2012, 1,909 women were murdered in the country.
Organizers affirmed that the march is a protest of all chauvinist violence, a term that they said encompasses murder, rape, street harassment, domestic violence, withholding education from girls and women, discouraging them to leave the house and gender-based online harassment.
“This march will send a clear message to the authorities that there has been an omission,” said organizer Cynthia Híjar, speaking of the government’s responsibility to protect women. “It is meant to say ya basta, but also that women have the power to organize.”
The activists said that they felt it was important that the march unite women in Mexico City and the surrounding State of Mexico, where particularly high rates of femicide take place.
The day’s protests will depart at 10 to 11 a.m. in a mass caravan from State of Mexico city Ecatepec to the Indios Verdes Metrobús station. At 1 p.m., protestors will ride buses en masse to downtown Mexico City’s Monumento a la Revolución, and then at 2 p.m. march by foot down the Paseo de la Reforma to the Ángel de Independencia, where speeches and “political-cultural actions” will take place, according to materials provided by event organizers.
“Taking the streets together is a message that says no, we are not going to shut up,” said organizer Lulú V. Barrera. “We want all the women this message reaches to join us.”
Organizers added that men are welcome to participate in the march, but that individual invitations would not be extended to them.
“Let’s see who shows up,” said Híjar.
More information on #24A events available here.