Hayden Lawn anonymously decorated to memorialize Nos Faltan 43 victims

For the second year in a row, ASU students anonymously set up a memorial honoring the 43 Mexican students executed in September 2014

In September 2014, 43 Mexican college students were taken by the Mexican government and allegedly executed.

Now, two years later, a memorial was anonymously erected in their honor on ASU's Hayden Lawn.

According to CNN, the Mexican attorney general said the students were taken by Mexican police under the order of the mayor of Iguala, Jose Luis Abarca, handed over to a drug gang and executed.

In 2014, CNN reported that authorities believed the bodies were burned and thrown into a river, but the victims’ families still had hope that their children were alive.

All 43 victims were college students from the same school, studying to be teachers.

In 2015, ASU students set up stones and flowers on Hayden Lawn in the shape of the number 43 and a question mark to honor the missing students.

This year a memorial was set up again but with a more personal touch. Instead of stones, the numbers are formed of paper bags emblazoned with a picture of one of the victims, along with their name. The Hayden Library skylight is covered in chalk drawings of a raised fist, a widely-used symbol of solidarity and support, a rose and the words "Nos Faltan."

Belen Sisa, a political science junior, said she was overcome with emotion when she walked past the memorial. 

"It's beautiful to see that students here in Arizona, in the United States are bringing awareness to a terrible tragedy that the Mexican government tried to cover up," she said. "It shows that solidarity transcends borders and that as students ourselves stand with them."

Sisa posted a photo of the memorial on Facebook, and it received many shares and likes from members of the ASU community.

Sisa said she thinks it is important for American college students to be aware of the incident because it is something that could have happened to them. She said the 43 students executed in Mexico were taken because they protested the government for better education.

She stressed the importance of the idea that these were college students executed for protesting their rights, and it is something that could potentially happen to anyone.

"What if this happened to one of us while we were protesting for in-state tuition for DACA students here at ASU?" she said. "What if this happened to us when Governor Doug Ducey cut the education budget for the universities and we rose up at the state capital?"

Reach the reporter at aegeland@asu.edu or follow @alexisegeland on Twitter.

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