The unsolved deaths of the women in Juarez live on in song and art

The unsolved deaths of the women in Juarez live on in song and art

LatinaLista — It is said that music is timeless. Unfortunately, some heartbreaking crimes are also timeless as long as they remain unsolved. Join the two together -- music and an unsolved crime and the results are lyrics that are haunting, memorable and serve as the voice of the victims.


That's the case with a song that I was only made aware of yesterday, though it's been on the market since 2007. The song is titled "Missing Women" and it's about the women in Juarez, Mexico who have either disappeared or were murdered with the police unable, or unwilling, to bring those responsible to justice.

The song was written and sung by a San Antonio, Texas-born singer named Patricia Vonne. (Editor's note: Come to find out, Patricia, whose full name is Patricia Vonne Rodriguez, is a sister of Latino film director Richard Rodriguez.)

On an album that was released in 2007 titled Firebird, Patricia sings the "Missing Women" song. In an interview with the Austin Chronicle, she explains why she wrote the song:

When I was performing in Mexico City, I was given a documentary called Senoritas Extraviada by Lourdes Portillo. The graphic descriptions and extent of these inhumane murders haunted me. I traveled to Juarez and met with the mothers of some of the victims who let me in to their tragic world. I felt compelled to write "Missing Women" as a tribute to these innocent forgotten souls and help bring awareness to this ongoing tragedy.

Though the song is two years old, I was immediately struck by the lyrics and the setting of the video and I knew Latina Lista readers would appreciate knowing about it. As I sat at my computer finishing this post, everything that comes before this paragraph already written, I received a random e-mail from the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago.

The subject line reads -- National Museum of Mexican Art Presents Exhibition on the Women of Juarez.

My heart stopped for an instant and being somewhat sensitive and superstitious like most Latinas I know, I couldn't help but think that the souls of those missing Juarez girls and women were reaching out beyond the grave to encourage me to continue to help tell their stories.

So, I will.

In addition, to posting Patricia's music video in this post, I want to share news of this new exhibit as well.

Chicago - Rastros y Crónicas: Women of Juarez is an exhibition of contemporary art that brings together female artists from both sides of the U.S./Mexico border to explore the complexities of the violent deaths and disappearances of the women living in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez. 26 well-respected female artists from the U.S. and Mexico create a new narrative for the slain and disappeared women of Ciudad Juárez through their artwork.

Rastros y Crónicas: Women of Juarez is set to open Friday, October 16, 2009 at the National Museum of Mexican Art from 6-8:00pm. The exhibition runs through February 14, 2009.

Rastros y Crónicas: Women of Juarez utilizes provocative artwork of varied mediums as a chronicle of the struggles of Mexican women and the grievous deaths in Ciudad Juárez. By generating awareness, the artwork supports the cause of the victims' families who search for justice and truth. The exhibition compels the viewer to comprehend and sympathize with what the victims endured and what the living continue to face. In this way, our generation and future generations will not forget or ignore the loss of life in Ciudad Juárez.

It is clear that we must never forget -- no matter what side of the border we live on.


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