Ser Mujer 2020: Whatever Happened to All Those Shoes?

Ser Mujer 2020: Whatever Happened to All Those Shoes?

By Suzanne Bacon 

Ser Mujer is a San Miguel de Allende organization of Mexican, American, and Canadian women aged 28 to 82. For the last six years, Ser Mujer has promoted women’s issues during Women’s History Month with a program of events, talks, and films. The program this year was inaugurated with a flash mob in front of the Parroquia on March 1. Sold out events followed and included a talk about women and migration by Gretchen Kuhner, founder of UMUMI. A new documentary on migration, “Where Can We Live in Peace” by Judy Jackson, was premiered. It was an auspicious beginning cut short after just two weeks. 

The major Ser Mujer event for 2020 was an art installation titled “In Her Shoes.” Planning began in January when various organizations and merchants began collecting shoes. The goal was to collect one pair of shoes to represent each woman who had lost her life in the state of Guanajuato in 2019. The count was over 300, with many of those being victims of femicide. On March 8, a group of women marched from the Jardin to Colonia Guadalupe to inaugurate the installation and to commemorate the women lost with music, poetry, speeches, and a dedication ceremony.

The impact was stunning, and the shoes hung from the balconies and rooftop of Tomas Burkey’s home in the heart of Guadalupe. The activities for the remainder of the month were canceled as concerns with COVID-19 started to take hold, but the shoes remained as a grim reminder of the plight of so many women in Mexico. They hung there for a month and were removed at the end of March.

Not only did we display the generosity of so many who donated shoes, but the intent of these shoes was dual—the symbolism of violence against women and the good usage of them afterwards. To that end, on May 24, over 150 pairs of shoes were donated to the ABBA House in Celaya for migrants and deportees who pass through this safe house. 

Although the original program was cut short by the pandemic, the allocation of the shoes meant even more because there are so many more women in need throughout the world. News of increased domestic violence during this crisis has made us ever-focused on helping women in need and building a community of caring. Thank you to all who made March, although it was cut short, an impactful and awareness-building experience for the women of San Miguel de Allende and the Ser Mujer organization.