Take Action

Visit a cemetery. Make note of any ways that El Velador (The Night Watchman) leads you to see the place in new ways. Consider what its artifacts tell you about your community, including the relationship of wealth to status, the nature of family structures, evidence of religious beliefs and so on. Think about what a cemetery or mausoleum might look like if it reflected your values.

Study current U.S. policy related to the Mexican drug wars and make recommendations to your political representatives about what you think the policy should be. Or, study the Mexican government’s attempts to address the violence and assess the appropriateness of the methods currently being used.

The drug war and violence in Mexico are prominent topics on American news reports. Investigate whether or not that news coverage leaves an accurate impression of life in Mexico. Consider paying special attention to how the language used to describe events in Mexico–“war,” “drug lord,” “cartel” and so on–influences how we think about the issues and possible solutions. Share your findings with your community and with the journalists you rely upon for information. If appropriate, arrange to meet with reporters to offer strategies about how to improve the accuracy of coverage.

Organize a workshop for your school or a religious organization or civic group to which you belong to learn about border issues. Check with organizations like BorderLinks for workshop models, facilitators and ideas for community follow-up.

Hold a mini-film festival featuring the work of Natalia Almada. View all three of her POV films (El Velador (The Night Watchman), Al Otro Lado (To the Other Side) and El General), comparing and contrasting the methods and messages of each.