Mexico’s Human Face: Dog Rescuers, Punk Santas and a Tight-Knit Community

A monthly column featuring stories of music, cinema and culture from Mexico City.

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Mexico’s Human Face: Dog Rescuers, Punk Santas and a Tight-Knit Community

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO — “Mexican, what do you imagine when you dream?”

“¿A qué le tiras cuando sueñas, mexicano?”

The lyrics of this popular Mexican song describe the aspirations of my country. And the song compares those aspirations with the little commitment with which Mexicans are perceived to have. We are poor, in debt, overpopulated and too often governed by corruption.

Still, we Mexicans, we dream.

The first story I wrote for Global Press Journal (read here) was about a Mexican who dreamed of finding homes for all the dogs who lived on the streets. He and a group of young Mexican volunteers promoted dog adoption, during their days off from work. They woke up early on Sunday mornings, motivated to make a change in their community, without receiving any compensation.

We Mexicans, we fight, too.

I’ve also covered communities that fight for their basic needs. Just south of Mexico City, there is a community where the residents buy and sell fruit, vegetables and meat that come from their land. There are no supermarkets, by choice. The community fought to close large supermarkets that were putting the local businesses at risk.

We Mexicans, we support our community and have fun, too.

On January 5, a new tradition emerged. Los Reyes Magos Punk, which means something like the Punk Wise Men, is a new holiday on which a group of Mexican punks gives toys and sweets to kids who live on the streets of Mexico City. (Santa can’t slide down your chimney if you don’t have one). They seek out donations of toys and sweets in a bar.

I love Mexico. And I love to share stories of Mexicans who dream. Too often, Mexicans appear in the news as immigrants or drug lords. It’s important that you consider our complete humanity: We dream. We fight. We are Mexico, in solidarity.

Elia Gran, GPJ, translated this column from Spanish.