Day of the Disappeared: Families Honor Their Loved Ones Lost on the Southern Border

SOUTHERN BORDER — Today, the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) and the Colibrí Center for Human Rights will commemorate the International Day of the Disappeared with concurrent vigils across the country to honor the more than 5,500 people who have disappeared because of the dangerous and deadly militarization of our southern border. 

The International Day of the Disappeared commemorates the hundreds of thousands of lives of those who have gone missing throughout the world. For the event, SBCC has created a Day of the Disappeared site, where visitors can sign up to attend a vigil, read testimonies from families who have lost loved ones to the militarization of the southern border, and participate in a digital National Day of Action. 

There are several vigils taking place today across the country, including one in Tucson at La Pilita. Additional vigils will be held in the following cities: 

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • Tempe, AZ
  • Douglas, AZ
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Palo Alto, CA
  • Stanford, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • West Hills, CA
  • Morgantown, WV
  • Venice, FL
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Munster, IN
  • Washington, DC

Vicki B. Gaubeca, director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition, issued the following statement:

“Border militarization and the criminalization of migration are the main reasons why so many people have died or gone missing along the southern border. Desperate families risk everything for the chance to ask for protection at our nation’s borders, and the militarization of our southern border pushes them further into dangerous, unsurvivable wilderness for that chance. Border communities say, enough is enough. We urge elected officials, community leaders and the 2020 presidential candidates to join us in looking towards a New Border Vision, and develop policies and platforms that expand public safety, protect human rights, and welcome all people to our region and our nation.”

Steph Zamora, advocacy director of the Colibrí Center for Human Rights, issued the following statement: 

“Those who have disappeared at the southern border are not simply statistics, they’re real people who deserve to be remembered and honored. Colibrí works at the extreme end of violent border policy and we understand that when migration in criminalized, the result is the loss of human life––a result that is completely preventable. By holding space for them on the Day of the Disappeared we are reminding people that real lives are lost due to the decades-long militarization of the southern border. Colibrí and the thousands of families of disappeared migrants will continue the struggle for border policy that upholds human rights and human dignity above all.” 


Anne Norris, fianceé of Jose Ricardo Garay Garay, who went missing on the Arizona/Mexico Border in 2009 said

I want answers and justice, and to bring our loved ones back home. For them to be recognized as more than just a number. Ricardo is more than just a number to us; he was a person.”


The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) brings together organizations from San Diego, California to Brownsville, Texas, to ensure that border enforcement policies and practices are accountable and fair, respect human dignity and human rights, and prevent the loss of life in the region.


The Colibrí Center for Human Rights is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization with the mission to end disappearance and uphold human dignity along the U.S.-Mexico border.



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Southern Border Communities Coalition is a program of Alliance San Diego.


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