Yesterday, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck central Mexico at 1:15 pm local time.
Thirty-two years ago, on September 19th, 1985, my dad was late to work because he had spent extra time playing with me—I was two years old at the time.
That morning, at 7:17 a.m., an 8.0 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico City, killing around 10,000 people.
My dad was late to work and it saved his life.
He is a surgeon, so when he got to Centro Médico, the hospital had collapsed. He spent the next two days helping to pull people out of the debris.
I don’t remember any of this, but I’ve heard the stories of him being reported both missing and dead during those two days. There was chaos and a lack of communication, but people worked together to rescue as many people as they could.
That earthquake changed our lives. We moved to Tijuana after that.
Today, I can’t stop crying. A feeling of deep pain and infinite love and pride fills my heart.
Exactly 32 years later, on the anniversary of that deadly earthquake, this new tragedy has struck the city. The death toll is still rising, 40 buildings have collapsed around the city, and videos of horror and hysteria have been filling social media.
But thankfully, the panic has stopped.
Social media has allowed us to locate our loved ones much faster than we could 32 years ago. I was able to breathe easy again when friends and family “marked themselves safe” on Facebook.
Images and videos have emerged of thousands of people coming out to the streets with one mission: to save lives. We are now being shown people forming human chains, doing whatever they can to help others.
People are obeying hand signals to stay quiet so that dogs and rescue teams can do their work. Rescue brigades and everyday heroes are swarming the streets, pulling rock after rock—because kindness and love are the most powerful force on Earth.
And the little we each do creates a big impact.
Today, Mexico does not represent rape, murder, or drug cartels; today, Mexico is a society holding hands and working day and night for each other.
Ordinary people make miracles when we decide to care for each other.
Make no mistake: there are more good people in this world than bad.
Please find it in your heart to pray or meditate for Mexico, for Puerto Rico, and for anyone in need. Send love and hope toward the people who are both rescuing and being rescued.
If you can go a little further, here are some organizations that are doing an amazing job and could use your help:
Topos.mx: Their name means “moles.” They are a special civil rescue brigade specialized in searching people under debris. It hasn’t been easy to access their website, but here is their account information to donate via Paypal: [email protected]
Cruz Roja Mexicana (Mexican Red Cross)
Author: Montse Leon
Images: via Instagram; Youtube
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Travis May
Social Editor: Nicole Cameron