Why Juarez

Why Juarez

WHY JUAREZ?

Ciudad Juarez is a vibrant border community of hard working people with important historical and economic ties to the United States.

The Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua / El Paso, Texas region was founded as Paso del Norte in 1659 by Spanish explorers seeking a route through the southern Rocky Mountains. In 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo established the Rio Grande as the border between Mexico and the United States, separating the settlements on the north bank of the Río Grande from the rest of the town. Prohibition Era in the 1920s brought a boom to the city of Juarez, as it became an entertainment center for the southwestern US.
In recent decades, Juarez grew substantially due to a large influx of people moving into the city in search of jobs with the maquiladoras (manufacturing plants). Along with that, a large number of slums emerged brining about poverty and crime. Nevertheless, Juarez was positioned as an industrial attraction pole for the manufacturing industry, business centers and foreign investment. Moreover, in 2008 Juarez won an fDi Magazine award for “North American large cities of the future.”
Unfortunately, Juarez’s strategic location has also attracted drug cartels and criminal organizations. While the city has been affected for decades, the surge in violence in 2009 was unprecedented, categorizing Juarez as the “murder capital of the world” with a homicide rate of 130 for each 100,000 inhabitants. The wave of homicides reached its highest in the city’s history in 2010 with 3,622 murders. These levels of violence transformed Juarez into a ghost town and motivated many of its residents to flee across the border—helping El Paso sustain high levels of economic growth in the middle of an economic recession.
Since 2011, crime and murder have steadily declined. A murder rate reduction of 57 percent combined with the fierce spirit of Juarez is bringing a new sense of life and hope to the city. This vibrant community is full of positives that overcome the negatives. Innovation is seen every day in the many factories and businesses across industries. It is a city that offers employment opportunities and provides a shelter for those who need it. It has been the epicenter of protests against social injustice and at the same time, it is home to a thriving artistic community in theater, music and literature.
Today, more than ever, residents from both sides of the border need to join forces and work to improve and care for their city and its people. We need to invest in our children and youth, provide them with learning opportunities and support them in leading happy and safe lives. Not only do Juarez and El Paso form one of the largest international border communities on earth, they are also sister cities and an example of resilient communities that can and will prosper in the midst of adversity. That is why Project Paz exists in the first place—because of it’s the resiliency and aspiring human spirit of its people. We urge you to adopt our mission today. Peace is long overdue in Juarez.

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