September 20, 2017

7.1 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Mexico City—How we can Help.


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.

A post shared by George Gutierrez (@koke_619) on Sep 20, 2017 at 9:49am PDT

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]

Other organizations:

Cruz Roja Mexicana (Mexican Red Cross)

Save the Children

Unicef in Mexico

Oxfam Mexico


Author: Montse Leon
Images: via Instagram; Youtube
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Travis May
Social Editor: Nicole Cameron

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Montse Leon

Montse Leon grew up in Tijuana, Mexico, so the immigrant situation has always concerned her mind and heart. She would love to see people asking for fewer walls instead of higher ones. She broke down her own wall when she fell in love with a gringo and started a family. Now she is the mother of a little wild child and when not dancing with him or hiking with her dog, she finds time to escape into yoga. She frequently visits family and friends in Mexico, enjoying long hours of togetherness over a bottle of mezcal or a hipster Tijuana version of the café de olla, depending on the time. She gets inspired by the pre-Columbian traditions in Mexico and by the work of writers and artists such as Laura Esquivel, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Alice Rahon and Remedios Varo, all of whom have found the thin line that divides our world and the world where the Moon is inhabited by spirits and mermaids.

You can follow her on Instagram.