Emily Pederson is a documentary photographer and filmmaker. Raised in Rhode Island, USA, she has spent most of the last four years in Mexico, covering social movements and the impact of Drug War violence. Her work has been supported by Field...
Skills:Translator, Digital Printing, Audio Recording, Color Correction, Film Scanning, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Premier, Book Layout/Design, Photo Editing, Black & White Printing, Exhibition Design, Photojournalism, Video Editing, Film Photography
Children run on the road above Acteal. In the 1990s, the Chenalhó region was one of the most violent in Chiapas, and camps were filled with thousands of internally displaced people. Acteal, Chiapas. Mexico. 2013.
Juan, his wife Marcelina and relatives return from harvesting coffee in Colonia Puebla. After five months of displacement, the families risked a trip home to harvest their coffee crops, which were going to waste. Colonia Puebla, Chiapas. Mexico. 2014.
Marcelina's mother holds her granddaughter Azalia, who Marcelina gave birth to three months earlier in Acteal. She didn't meet Azalia until Marcelina returned to Colonia Puebla for the harvest. Colonia Puebla, Chiapas. Mexico. 2014.
Juan and his daughter Yesenia rest at his mother's house, where they stayed during the coffee harvest. Like the other displaced families, he and Marcelina found their house ransacked when they returned home. Colonia Puebla, Chiapas. Mexico. 2014.
The 9 men, 20 women, and 16 children who were killed in the 1997 Acteal Massacre are honored in a tomb beneath Acteal. The painted words read: "Faced with impunity and forgetting, memory and hope. They took away their futures but today they live among us, demanding justice." Acteal, Chiapas. Mexico. 2013.
Las Abejas de Acteal protest the release of prisoners allegedly involved in the 1997 Acteal massacre and the resurgence of paramilitary violence in Colonia Puebla. Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas. Mexico. 2013.
Just before Christmas, 1997, 45 unarmed refugees were murdered by a paramilitary group in the village of Acteal in Chiapas, Mexico. The Acteal Massacre occurred at the height of the "low-intensity war," a wave of violence and militarization that began in Chiapas after the Zapatista indigenous guerrilla uprising of 1994. Those killed at Acteal belonged to Las Abejas, a Catholic pacifist organization that rejected the Zapatistas' use of violence but sympathized with their demands. Since 2009, the Mexican Supreme Court has released 54 of the paramilitaries who were jailed for the massacre on the basis of procedural errors.
In 2013, wartime divisions began to resurface in Colonia Puebla, a town close to Acteal. That March, a dispute over a plot of land owned by the Catholic church led to escalating aggression against the community's Catholic minority - many of whom are members of Las Abejas - and within months, nearly a hundred of them had fled for their lives. They spent the following year living as displaced persons in Acteal, taken in by the Abejas leadership and survivors of the 1997 massacre, who feared that history was about to repeat itself.