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No están solas

Practical Guide:

Steps to take in the event of a missing person

English Español

Practical Knowledge • Critical Analysis • Collective Memory

Bridging the search
for the disappeared
in Mexico.

No están solas is a multidisciplinary project from Columbia University with the objective of offering a set of pedagogical and informative tools to support the collective response to widespread disappearance in Mexico and the work of collectives and family members engaged in the search.

We seek to offer a productive, collaborative and practical space to socialize information, offer critical analysis, and construct collective memory.

We aim to respond to a pressing need for cross-border coordination between organizations, knowledge-producing institutions, and the people searching for the disappeared.

“I think that with the passage of time, unfortunately, you realize that if you don't search, no one else will.”

– Tranquilina Hernández Lagunes.

In Mexico official numbers of missing persons have surpassed 100,000, most of which having occurred since the beginning of the war against drug cartels in 2006. The inaction and neglect of authorities, bureaucratic stagnation and impunity have led families to take matters into their own hands to search for and succeed in finding their loved ones.

“One does not live, one survives to see them return or to see them come home and embrace them again.”

– Martha Leticia García Cruz.

This tragic reality is unfolding in a context of unrelenting violence in a country that is both a destination and passage for people on the move.

“It has been very hard, very hard, to be searching and to find people who say "don't look anymore because you won't find them". But here we are. I will not lose faith until… well, until we find him and everyone.”

– Zuseth Adriana Heraz Amador.

“From the moment that I decided to take to the streets to look for my son, it was to make it known, to make it visible everywhere and that I have not remained silent. It is to raise my voice, to shout everywhere, to make them listen, to let them know what is happening to migrants.”

– Ana Enamorado (Honduras).

Throughout Mexico and in neighboring countries, family members, mainly women, have organized themselves into collectives, mainly composed of women, and are developing search methods, advocating for institutional changes and supporting those facing disappearance, to find those who have disappeared, not just their own loved ones.

"From the first day I went out to look for my son, I adopted all the disappeared as if they were one”

– Ceci Patricia Flores Armenta.

These searchers, or buscadoras, have become the main agents of change, bringing their resilience, along with their experience and knowledge around disappearance and searching, to the collective movement in México.

“Now we have more tools to be able to search. Now we have more tools to be able to demand our rights and to be able to help others who are like us.”

– Leticia Sandoval Zúñiga.

“To the extent that we achieve, as family members, to raise awareness among more of the population, we will generate more empathy and we will also create more strategies, not just personally, but also collectively, to take care of ourselves. To protect ourselves. We are becoming politicized, and that gives us not only a conscience that is more mature, but also a political conscience that helps us think.”

– Laura María Orozco.

Oral Testimonies

60 interviews with mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, wives, daughters, fathers, brothers and sons from 12 different states in Mexico who are searching for their missing loved ones. A personal compilation of experiences before and after cases of disappearance, the meaning of searching, and the transformation of fear into strength and the hope to find those who are missing.

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A selection of literature, journalistic work, academic analysis, poetry, films, multimedia projects, which serves as an introduction to the context of disappearance and the search in Mexico.

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Reference Material

A compilation tools and documents for searching, as well as voices from the search, including: laws, government protocols, basic guides, testimonies and stories of the search that is carried out by civil society organizations and international agencies working hand in hand with family members.

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A database with contact information for collectives, civil society organizations, international organizations and government institutions, to facilitate connection, communication and access to information.

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This project was possible thanks to the support of