43: more than a number

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong. Abraham Lincoln

On September 26, the police forces intercepted buses transporting students from Ayotzinapa Normal School in Guerrero, Mexico and the ensuing clash resulted in the death of 6 people and the disappearance of 43 students.

When separated by a label “students” or a number “43,” it is easy for us to forget that Jonas Gonzalez, Antonio Maestro, Marco Molina and Jose Torres (only four of the 43 missing) had hopes, dreams and families that they loved and lived for.

To some these students were rabble-rousers, but to others these students were breaking the cycle of poverty and lack of education.  Their disappearance leaves far more than 43 empty chairs in the classrooms of Ayotzinapa, it leaves a gaping ache in the lives of their loved ones who were left behind and countless dreams unfulfilled.

With them they carry their dreams of creating a better Mexico, a Mexico that stretches far beyond a land ridden with drugs, violence and cartel activity.  They, and many others, dared to dream of Mexico where children were not bound to a life in poverty, but garnered the tools to live the life they choose for themselves.  Faced with obstacles, they didn’t cower down to life, they rose up- even to the government- to be the change they hoped to see in the world.

They understood the power a teacher has to change the world of his or her students. . . They believed in the power of education to transform the world they lived.  They believed that their individual lives mattered.  They aren’t the 43 disappeared students.

Son 43 companeros, 43 vidas. . .  (They are 43 of our peers, those are 43 lives). . .

said Ernesto Guerrero, who survived the clash, in an interview with VICE news.

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