Battered Women’s Support Services and Vancouver Latin American Film Festival co-host Special Screening
Bajo Juárez - The City that Devours its Daughters
with Alejandra Sanchez and Beverley Jacobs
In the context of deaths and disappearances of their daughters, Mothers are transforming grief into action and activism. Bajo Juarez – The City that Devours its Daughters is a haunting documentary that follows unsolved and highly publicized crimes against girls and women along the Mexico-U.S. border in the town of Juarez. Directors Alejandra Sanchez and Jose Antonio Cordero compel new understanding of the enormous dangers facing girls and women who work in the maquiladoras (factories) making products for the U.S. and Canadian marketplace.
On February 14, 2001, Lilia Alejandra Garcia Andrade disappeared when she was leaving the maquiladora where she worked in Juarez. The 17-year old mother of two never reached home. Five days later, her body was found wrapped in a blanket, displaying signs of physical and sexual abuse. She had been held captive for several days before she was killed.
Lilia is one of the 430 girls and women who have disappeared in Mexico’s Chihuahua state since 1993 and her story is the main focus of Bajo Juarez, a documentary that was five years in the making and Battered Women’s Support Services is co-hosting a special showing September 8, 2011 in Vancouver, BC.
Disappearances and murders of girls and women that go unexplained and occur with impunity is a feature all across North America including Canada. The story of their Mothers who turn into activists is a relatively untold story and Bajo Juarez illustrates the transformation of Alejandra’s Mother, Norma Andrade, as she campaigns for justice over the death of her daughter. Using a narrative approach unique to a woman’s point of view, Bajo Juarez integrates testimony from family members, journalists, factory workers and police officials and points toward disturbing corruption that reaches the highest levels of the Mexican government.
Noted by the filmmaker as a national crisis in Mexico, Beverley Jacobs has been raising the alarm that Canada has our own national crisis of disappearances and murders of Indigenous girls and women. This week alone we have received notification of five more disappearances from across Canada. Canada and Mexico have both been subjects of Amnesty International reports regarding violence against girls and women, reports that highlight systemic and institutional issues that contribute to the disappearances and deaths that accompany social. government and law enforcement apathy.
With Beverley Jacobs leadership, Native Women’s Association of Canada initiated Sister’s in Spirit which researched the disappearances and murders of over 582 Aboriginal girls and women in Canada. Beverley has been working closely with families to ensure their experiences and recommendations are well reflected and supporting family members to take action in the ways that make sense for the individual, their family and the community. In 2010, the Canadian government opposed the use of the name Sister’s in Spirit and any work on the groundbreaking database on the missing and murdered girls and women cases as reported in this Rabble.ca article essentially ending the campaign.
Battered Women’s Support Services will host a special screening of Bajo Juarez in collaboration with Vancouver Latin American Film Festival and W2 Media Cafe. Mandy Nahanee will welcome attendees to the Sḵwxwú7mesh territory and will share her perspective about violence against girls and women. The filmmaker Alejandra Sanchez will be in attendance to speak about the current situation in Juarez and other regions in Mexico. We will also be joined by Beverley Jacobs, former president, Native Women’s Association of Canada who will speak about her work to address violence against Indigenous girls and women and the activism of Mothers and other family members who have been raising the alarm and seeking justice. Rosa Elena Arteaga from Battered Women’s Support Services will MC, Rosa has worked to raise awareness about the disappearances and murders in Juarez for many years.
What: Bajo Juarez - The City that Devours its Daughters (Bajo Juárez – La ciudad devorando a sus hijas) – 1 hour 36 minutes – Unrated – Spanish with English Subtitles
Who: Co-hosted by Battered Women’s Support Services and Vancouver Latin American Film Festival
When: September 8, 2011 – Doors at 8 pm
Where: W2 Media Cafe, 111 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC
Alejandra Sanchez film Agnus Dei: Lamb of God is featured at Vancouver Latin American Film Festival and is a film that reveals the impunity of the Catholic Church towards acts of pederasty committed by some of its members, while at the same time, shows the courage and self-respect of the survivors. AGNUS DEI: LAMB OF GOD. Screening on September 6 at 5PM, Pacific Cinemateque