This summer, the Rothko Chapel continues its exploration of the key issues facing people living on the U.S.-Mexico border by presenting Cipriana Jurado Herrera, a Mexican human rights activist who was recently awarded political asylum in the United States.
Cipriana Jurado has been an activist in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, for over twenty years, since she arrived in the city at age 14 to work in the maquiladoras to help support her family. It was then that she first began to fight for dignity and on behalf of her fellow workers. In the late 1980s she co-founded Centro de Investigaciones y Solidaridad Obrera (Center for Investigation and Worker Solidarity), and in 1990 she became its director. Much of her work has centered on complaints, victimization, kidnappings, and disappearances related to the militarization of northern Mexico and the abuses and brutality carried out by the Mexican military.
In 2008, after she had publicly opposed and denounced the militarization, Cipriana Jurado was arrested by unidentified officers without a search warrant. Thanks to the efforts of Mexican congressman Victor Quintana and human rights organizations in Ciudad Juarez, she was released the next day, but not before witnessing first-hand the brutality others had suffered at the hands of the Mexican military. She continued to be harassed by the military even as good friends and human rights colleagues were brutally murdered. In 2010, fearing for her life, she left Mexico with her two children and went to Chicago under the protection of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America. On July 11, 2011, she was granted political asylum in the United States.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011