Students in Action gather supplies for Mexico’s earthquake victims

Club inspired by lack of media coverage of devastation

By Anthony Kinney, Associate Editor

To aid in the relief of those impacted by the devastating earthquakes that destroyed parts of Mexico last month, the Students in Action Club is asking for donations of clothing, blankets and other essentials through the month of October.

Donations toward the earthquake relief can be dropped off at the Gateway to College classroom in AA-219 until Oct. 20.

Students in Action President Diana Alvarez said the club is looking to reach a goal of $5,000 worth of blankets, clothing, toiletries and personal hygiene products to send to survivors of the earthquakes.

Alvarez said the lack of coverage by American media outlets on the ravaging earthquakes inspired her club to help those whose lives were affected by the catastrophic events.

“They weren’t getting any attention from the media, even though the country was hit with (one of) its biggest earthquake in centuries,” she said. “It took a second earthquake to hit for us to even hear about it in the states.”

SIA faculty adviser Anna Chuon said many of her colleagues and students are worried about their families in Mexico and with the current scarce reporting on the region, it’s hard for them to stay informed about family members’ living conditions.

Chuon, who’s also a Gateway to College resource specialist, said the country of Mexico is dear to many students in the club and that she didn’t hesitate to support her students when they brought forth the idea.

Gateway to College student and SIA Treasurer Liz Luna and Alvarez both have family impacted by the Mexico City earthquake.

Luna said with the recent natural disasters that have occurred in North America, SIA members have been debating on where and how to help since the catastrophic impact of Hurricane Harvey in Texas.  The Mexico City earthquake occurred  one day after Hurricane Irma subsided in Florida.

“We knew the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Irma were getting support because of all the media coverage,” she said. “There’s not a lot of attention from our media about the earthquake. But we want the Mexican people affected by the earthquakes to know they’re not forgotten by those here in America.”

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the 7.1-magnitude earthquake, whose epicenter was 75 miles south of the country’s capital, Mexico City, took a total of 369 lives.

Only 12 days before the disastrous Mexico City earthquake, an earlier temblor struck Chiapas, Mexico that claimed at least 98 lives and damaged 41,000 homes.

The Sept. 19 Mexico City earthquake occurred on the 32nd anniversary of the violent 1985 earthquake that killed 10,000 people and injured 30,000 others in and around the same area.

That earthquake was the country’s deadliest thus far.

Luna said she’s seen an overwhelming number of people on social media who lost their homes and now have to sleep in shelters or outside.

It’s scenes like these which urged her to help the relief effort in any way she can.

“That’s where my family is and where my culture came from,” Luna said. “We can’t leave them stranded like that.”

Gateway to College student and SIA Club member David Hernandez said although he doesn’t have family in Mexico, he also donated clothes toward the cause.

“Helping people is what I joined this club to do,” Hernandez said.

Alvarez said the cub is a great opportunity for students with a passion to help others meet like-minded peers and work on projects aimed at assisting others.