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Vigil for 43 Missing Mexican Students

In remembrance of the 43 Mexican students murdered in Guerrero after police handed them over to narcotraficantes, protesters held a vigil on Thursday night.

More than 200 people gathered outside of the Goleta Community Center on Thursday night to commemorate the 43 Mexican students who disappeared almost two months ago, repeating the word used most widely with this protest — indignant.

“It shows that people really want to do something,” said event organizer and UCSB grad student Idalia Robles, referring to the sizable turnout. Participants — young and old — lit candles and circled around portraits planted into the grass. The group made its way inside of the center to watch a short video clip that told the story of the group of young male students who went missing in Guerrero, Mexico. Mexican sweet breads and coffee accompanied a declaration that was read aloud in both Spanish and English.

“It’s up to us as a community — Goleta and Santa Barbara and the Central Coast — to have communication about how this affects us personally,” said one speaker. She called the actions by the Mexican government “state-sponsored terrorism,” contending that officials have remained silent and lacked transparency. “We demand justice.” She paralleled these events to the ones that arose in Ferguson, Missouri, over the summer. Bringing it home, she also referred to Isla Vista’s tragedy last May 23, adding that the resulting heightened police presence is a risk to the lives of people of color. “It’s part of a global problem.”

Participants returned outside to march down Hollister Avenue, chanting in English and Spanish: “What do we want? Justice!”

“The people united will never be divided,” they called out. Another rally will be held on December 3; the time and location are still to be determined.

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