I recently had the opportunity to speak with an activist from Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico, Gio Acosta, who shared his story with me. He watched his town go from a peaceful haven for him and his family, to a place filled with military violence, corruption, and death. However, his story does not end there. Gio was able to transform his pain into action. He is now working on a master’s degree from the University of Texas in El Paso, and he has become an active advocate for justice in Mexico, specifically around disappearances and Femicide.
The moment I heard his voice, and the moment I felt his presence during our conversation, I was able to witness his passion to spread awareness of the current state of Mexico, and his passion to protect his people, to protect all people.
One of the biggest concerns that Gio expressed to me is the growing intensity of militarization in Mexico. I believe that it is important for us to focus on this issue, as it is a growing force around the world. In the last few months alone, we have seen militarized riot police overwhelm, gas, beat, and kill protesters who have taken direct action against the unjustified killings of civilians.
Gio taught me that actions speak much louder than we think they do. He heard that the Albuquerque community held a candlelight vigil in front of the Mexican Consulate to honor the 43 dissapeared students from Ayotzinapa, and he expressed the importance of this solidarity.
Gio also taught me that any struggle or tragedy that we experience in our lives leaves energy within us, and that energy can be transformed into actions. This is what it means to be compassionate.
When I was speaking to Gio about his work and his incredible bravery, I heard the emotion in his voice. When I expressed our solidarity with him, it was at that moment that I knew I was right where I needed to be. I may not have the answers to injustice, and I still have much to learn within my career as a social justice journalist, but I am sure about one thing: Generation Justice is action. The work that we do is our way of standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world. We are not driven by profit or status, we are driven by a vision to tell stories that are not often told, and to provide a place for people to tell their own stories, like Gio Acosta.