Things That Matter

A Quinceañera Is One Of The Most Special Celebrations So This Mexican Prison Organized One So Moms Didn’t Miss Out

One of the most emotionally taxing things for mothers and fathers that are incarcerated is missing their sons’ and daughters’ special moments. Graduations, first steps, heartbreaks, proms, soccer games and quinces: all of these are events that inmates generally experience behind bars through photos or tear-stained letters. All sense of normalcy vanishes when someone steps into a prison, and isolation can kick in and affect mental health. Depression and anxiety are common ailments in correctional facilities. 

So a recent initiative in a Mexican prison changed the lives of mothers whose daughters were about to have their quinces. This initiative helped strengthen family ties (which are precariously held when a loved one is serving a sentence) and surely lifted the spirits of mothers whose mistakes have also taken a toll on their loved ones. All in all, a great way to bridge reality inside and outside the prison. 

The prison of Santa Martha became a dance hall for an unforgettable quince.

Credit: InfoBae

Mexico City authorities and the NGO Alas de Amor (Wings of Love) organized a XV dance for daughters’ of female inmates at the Santa Martha Acatitla prison. There was a thanksgiving Catholic mass followed by a sit-down meal for families. We hope this is not the last time this event is organized and that correctional facilities elsewhere follow this example. 

Plenty of people pitched in so the young women could have a day to remember.

Flower shops from the world-famous Mercado de Jamaica donated the floral arrangements. Dancers from the studio Ballet Nuevo México acted as chambelanes for the traditional waltz. Before travelling to the prison, the festejadas gor their photo taken in front of the Antiguo Palacio del Ayuntamiento.

As EN24 reports: “This is the third year that this celebration takes place, and on this occasion merchants from La Lagunilla and the Tepito neighborhood, donated the dresses, shoes and accessories for the celebration.”

There is solidarity among el pueblo mexicano! After the party, they were taken around the city on one of Mexico City’s tourist buses. The progressive Mexico City government will likely promote this kind of events in the remaining five years of the current administration, led my Claudia Sheinbaum. 

And just look at that cake! Mordida, mordida, mordida!

With plenty of social stigma associated with inmates and their families, this was a great opportunity to make these women feel appreciated and for them to be able to regain their dignity, which surely has been manhandled during their journey through the judicial bureaucracy. After all, the prison system is supposed to work as an institution through which those who have made the wrong choices in life can get a second chance, but if prisons are hell on Earth then betterment can be tricky to say the least. 

It was a dreamy event in which mothers and daughters tightened their bond.

Teenage years are troubling and challenging for any young woman, and even more so if their mother is behind bars. One of the purposes of this initiative was to make sure that the emotional struggles of adolescence are lessened at least a little bit. Each young woman was allowed to invite ten external guests and five female inmates. It was a logistical challenge but for the third year in a row the outside world moved into the prison to provide a sense of normalcy to the inmates.  

And before you get all judgmental and say “well, criminals deserve what they got” you gotta know a little bit about the Mexican judicial system.

Credit: COHA

The Mexican judicial system is deeply flawed due to corrupt processes and to the fact that rather than someone being presumed innocent when they are arrested, they are presumed guilty and spend their time behind bars until their cases are resolved. Now, there is a decades-long bottleneck in the court system, which means that many of the inmates could potentially be innocent or have a waiting period behind bars that can end up being actually longer than the maximum sentence for the crime they were initially arrested for.

Added to this, Mexican jails are infamous for overpopulation, drug use, abusive guards and corruption. So before you get on your high horse give the inmates a break, shall we? Things are of course more complicated for female inmates as they are often abandoned to their own devices by associates whose modus operandi is to dispose of women in an abusive manner. The Mexican judicial system is also tough on women, as there is a social stigma that affects those who are arrested while being mothers. They are judged as malas madres and treated in a tough and sometimes cruel way by judges and authorities. 

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This Teacher Received A Nissan Pickup Truck Decked Out As A Mobile Classroom

Things That Matter

This Teacher Received A Nissan Pickup Truck Decked Out As A Mobile Classroom

Like students around the world, kids in Mexico have been forced to take school online or tune into programming on public TV in order to learn. But that’s just the kids who are lucky enough to have access to Internet or a TV. Many students live in rural areas and lack the adequate resources to continue their studies amid the global pandemic.

But thankfully, there are many good samaritans out there (aka compassionate teachers) who have invented their own ways to bring the classroom to kids wherever they are.

A Mexican teacher was gifted a decked out pickup truck by Nissan.

Since schools were forced to close last year in April, Aguascalientes special education teacher Nallely Esparza Flores, has been driving four hours a day to educate students one-on-one at their homes from her truck bed, outfitted with a small table and chairs.

News of her project spread across social media, eventually reaching the corporate offices of Nissan México. This week, the company surprised Esparza with the gift of a new pickup truck specially outfitted with a small open-air mobile classroom built into the truck’s bed.

“Today I feel like my labors and the help that we give each day to children and their families is unstoppable,” she said on Twitter Wednesday, sharing photos of her new vehicle. “My students no longer have to take classes in the full heat of the sun,” she said.

Nissan representatives said they decided to give Esparza the adapted NP300 model, 4-cylinder truck after hearing her story because she was “an example of perseverance and empathy.”

“When we learned about the incredible work of this teacher, we got together to discuss in what way we could contribute to this noble work,” said Armando Ávila, a vice president of manufacturing.

The mobile classroom is pretty legit and will allow Esparza to continue her good deed.

Esparza inside her new classroom.

The decked out Nissan pickup truck has three walls (the other is a retractable sheeting) and a ceiling made with translucent panels to protect teacher and student from the elements while letting in natural light.

It also has retractable steps for easy access to the classroom, electrical connections, a whiteboard and an easily disinfected acrylic table and benches that are foldable into the wall to provide space. The table also has a built-in plexiglass barrier to allow social distancing.

Access to education in Mexico is highly inequitable.

Esparza, like many teachers across the country, found that not all distance learning was equal. Many of her students in Cavillo were from poor families without internet access. So she used social media networks to keep in touch with such students via cell phones, but even that was not necessarily an available option for all — and not ideal. Finally, she decided to solve the problem by hitting the road in her pickup truck.

According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), only 58% of students in Mexico had a home computer – the lowest percentage among all OECD countries. And only about one third (32%) of the school computers in rural schools in Mexico were connected to
the Internet, compared to more than 90% for schools located in urban areas.

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Sen. Ted Cruz Makes Quick U-Turn From Mexico After Outrage He Abandoned His Frozen Texas

Things That Matter

Sen. Ted Cruz Makes Quick U-Turn From Mexico After Outrage He Abandoned His Frozen Texas

Sen. Ted Cruz has faced a series of outrages since being accused of helping to incite the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The latest problem plaguing Sen. Cruz is his trip to Mexico while his constituents in Texas freeze during an extreme weather event.

Sen. Ted Cruz was caught boarding a flight to Mexico as Texans are left freezing.

Texas is being slammed with a historic extreme winter weather storm. Hundreds of thousands of Texans are without power for the fifth day in a row while the senator from Texas was heading off to Cancun. Critics are angered that Sen. Cruz would leave the state while his constituents are forced to boil water to survive one of the worst winter storms on record.

Politicians are calling Sen. Cruz out for leaving his constituents during a natural disaster.

The Castro brothers are speaking up as well. Texans are dying from the extreme weather after the power grid was overloaded from sudden demand. The power outages have lasted for multiple days and the death toll continues to climb from the freezing temperatures. So far, 24 people have died from the winter storm.

Part of the problem is that Texas has their own power grid separated from the rest of the nation in an attempt to avoid federal regulations. The decision was made in the 1930s after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed the Federal Power Act. This allowed the federal government to oversee interstate electricity sales. However, Texas utilities did not cross state lines. This created an electricity island.

People are not letting the trip go unnoticed.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is responsible for overseeing the power grid and officials had a grim revelation about the power outages. On Tuesday, ERCOT CEO Bill Magness addressed the media about the power outages.

“We needed to step in and make sure that we were not going to end up with Texas in a blackout, which could keep folks without power — not just some people without power but everyone in our region without power — for much, much longer than we believe this event is going to last, as long and as difficult as this event is right now,” Magness said about the call to cut power to some customers as the icy conditions settled in on the area.

He further explained that some of the power outages could last for an undetermined amount of time.

This is not the first time Texas had weather-induced power outages because of winter weather. The state saw the same situation on a smaller scale play out in 2011. The winter storm in 2011 knocked out power across the state and yet Texas officials did not follow suggestions to prevent the current crisis.

A report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation called on Texas to “winterize” their energy infrastructure. The report highlights how the current infrastructure was not ready to take on the weather it experienced in 2011 and, according to The Texas Tribune, Texas didn’t heed the warning.

On Tuesday, 60 percent of Houston businesses and households remained without power because of the weather.

Sen. Cruz quickly booked a return flight to Houston after the outrage.

Facing mounting anger over his warm escape from Texas, Sen Cruz quickly U-turned back to Houston. He claims to have been accompanying his daughters to Mexico and not going on the vacation himself.

A flurry of tweets about the situation show a growing number of people who are skeptical of the senator’s statement. Ted Cruz was photographed with luggage both in Texas and coming back through the Cancun airport. The luggage has set off a debate about whether or not Sen. Cruz honestly went to Mexico to drop his daughters.

READ: Sen. Joe Manchin Calls On Senate To Expel Sen. Ted Cruz After Insurrection

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