«Cholos» de Ciudad Juárez que antes eran rivales, se unirán por segunda ocasión para llevar alegría a niños y niñas esta Navidad.
To do this, they will carry out a toy drive this Sunday starting at noon in Borunda Park, where they will receive donations from the border community.
This is part of a series of activities that will end with the delivery of gifts on December 19, in the neighborhoods near the School for Social Improvement for Minors.
For this purpose, 60 men and women, inhabitants of colonies such as Insurgentes, Rancho Anapra, Altavista, Bellavista, Juárez Nuevo, Aztecas and Zona Centro, have joined.
They are part of groups on social networks such as Firmes 656, La Clica Chingona, Hommies, XO Old School, Lowrider's Association, Maniacos Bike Club, among others.
Among the items that can be contributed are toys, clothes, shoes, tennis shoes, diapers, skittles and sweets.
If any "cholo" already lives outside of Juárez, or is on the border and also wants to collaborate, they can do so by contacting us by phone 656-813-3187.
When Patricia was little, the deficiencies in the house were so great that dreaming of a toy at Christmas was unthinkable. Sometimes it did happen, other times, December 25 was just another day.
Payasita, as this 46-year-old woman prefers to be called, grew up in one of the most difficult neighborhoods of Juárez in the 1990s, the Hidalgo neighborhood.
But being a cholo is more than a violent attitude, it is loving the neighborhood, committing and making a family among friends; it is to find one's own identity through clothing, taste in music and rootedness in the community.
That is very clear to Payasita, who in her adulthood, last year, in the midst of the pandemic, thought of the children; This is how the idea of breaking the rivalries between neighborhoods arose, to bring happiness closer to children.
So that the hope in their lives, at least one day, would shine again.
It was through the social network Facebook, last year, that she found "cholo" friends, like her, with whom she shared the idea of collecting toys.
Hardly a few got together, but it was a definite first step for the spirit to grow, even among rival gangs.
On that occasion, the gifts were delivered in a community kitchen in the Juanita Luna neighborhood; one of the summoned ex-gang members dressed as Santa Clós, arousing admiration in the eyes of the infants.
After that first experience, far from abandoning the idea, it grew. Today, thanks to communication through social networks, the movement of the "cholos" of yesteryear has been strengthened.
It is not just about the Christmas spirit, clarifies Payasita, who with a serious tone refers that more neighborhoods have been added.
This year, five activities are scheduled to collect and deliver toys.
This Sunday, December 5, will be the third of them; the place will be Borunda Park, where donations will be received from noon.
For December 11, the appointment will be at El Chamizal Park.
On December 12 it will be at the Juárez Vive stadium, where other groups related to the cause will also participate.
Payasita wants the new generations not to experience what many like her had during Christmas: scarcity. For this reason, they seek at this time to deliver a better future for children.
“It feels very nice to see the joy of the children, to regain hope in the midst of everything that is happening; that they believe again ”, she pointed out.
While laughing and reuniting with acquaintances, Angélica Galindo Ramírez, La Pelona, 53 years old, from Barrio 72, from the fields of the Insurgentes neighborhood, “throws the neighborhood” with her hands; She does not stop expressing her pride for the reason that brings her to meet other "cholos".
“The work that we are doing is very beautiful, God is blessing us so much that I am even surprised by everything that one is doing,” she said.
Angélica does not know the names of many of those who gathered this afternoon in the Plaza de Juan Gabriel to fight bullying. She was unaware, for example, that More was called Israel; "It is that in the neighborhood everyone identifies by nicknames," he justified.
"Everyone knows me by La Pelona instead of my name, alias La Pelona," he said.
There are many things to tell each other, many hugs to share. That's why La Pelona apologizes, it doesn't have many words, but it does have smiles and greetings to deliver to her compas from other neighborhoods.
Israel "The More", 38 years old, also grew up in Barrio 72. After his years as a gang member, today he works in the civil association Evolución Fundamental, in the 16 de Septiembre neighborhood.
Under the "From the Neighborhood to the Community" program, covering neighborhoods such as Guadalajara Izquierda, Anapra, Centro and the southeast of the city.
Thanks to this work, he knows how to manage support with community leaders.
That is why he did not hesitate to join the initiative when Payasita made a call on Facebook, through the Firms 656.
The cholos of yesteryear used to throw stones or beat them to defend their territory.
The years have passed and the insecurity that deprived the city made them change their perspective on life, reflected The More.
“There was a very conflictive room, the XO, where all the gangs went and they all met there. But time has passed and that wave of violence has passed and as adults we began to go to that room again but the treatment was different, ”he recalled.
"Gone are the grudges, and the big people have already reasoned, and there were no longer lawsuits for being from a different neighborhood, another chatter has already begun," he added.
The More thanked the journalist Perla Rico, who has supported them in their cause to deliver something for the benefit of the city.
"It's not doing it just because it's Christmas or New Year, we all already plan to do it more often," he said, after noting that as a "cholo", he bears the mark that he is a conflictive individual or commits crimes.
“People forget that we are human beings and we live in a colony and we are part of it, which society does not understand. Because we live in a neighborhood and because you dress this way or have a tattoo, they throw you away in such a way, but they forget that you are part of the community, ”he mentioned.
For The More, the fact that they see how they dress or because they walk around ball must be left behind. For him, being a "cholo" is part of Juárez's identity, not a synonym for bad people.
“There are no cholos like the ones from before right now. The new generations have an adaptation of the 'cholo' that has nothing to do with it; neither the way of dressing, nor the way of thinking nor the respect towards their elders, nor to their neighborhoods, there are no longer 'cholos' like this”, he pointed out.
Today, he mentioned, dressing "cholo" is part of a culture, an expression, a tradition that comes from generations.
“We preserve that culture, we like it, we grew up in that world. Many of us come from parents who were not gang members but wore the clothing; like that of the pachucos, we, it is the roll that we bring right now ”, he commented.
For The More, this collection tries to bring joy to children who may even have economic deprivations in spaces where there is only one father or mother supporting the home.
There will also be a special dinner for migrant children. More says that unlike other spaces, they will not have a Christmas and it is time to support.
For this reason, they are already asking which is the shelter where they can bring this help, for which they ask for the support of the community.
“That the people support us no matter where you are from, Veracruz, Torreón, they are here with us and they are part of the city,” he commented.
Delivering these toys and food goes beyond a date, it is about recovering roots and love for others, said More.
“It is also to recover public spaces, that there is a little more influx than there was before; that our children, also from Juárez, that they see harmony, that they take into account that we are human beings and that we are going to support these causes,” he pointed out.