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Esther Chávez Cano collection

Identifier: Ms-0471

Scope and Content

The collection is divided into five series: Juárez murders and other crimes, Media coverage, Activism, Photographs, and Compact discs. The first series is the largest, tracing the stories of individual victims, the public reaction as more victims were found over the years, arrests of suspects, statements and actions of the government, and the activist groups that Chávez formed and participated in.

Parts of the collection show the efforts of international organizations to rally support and raise awareness of the murders, of academics to increase understanding of the sociological factors caused by Juárez’s unpleasant economic and social realities, and of journalists to bring the story to the attention of more people.

The scope of the collection also touches on other matters like the conditions of factory workers; women’s rights, including questions of sexual abuse and freedom and reproductive choice; and the politics of activist groups and movements, with the controversies and rifts that result. Although containing few operational records or correspondence files, the collection does give a glimpse into the internal struggles that Esther’s and other activist groups have faced in pursuing their missions.


  • 1988-2006

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open. All materials in this collection are available for research under supervised conditions in the Research Room.

Copy Restrictions

Copyrights for materials in this collection held by Esther Chávez Cano have been transferred to New Mexico State University.


Esther Chávez Cano moved to Ciudad Juárez in 1982 after working in executive positions with several Mexican and international businesses. In 1988 she began writing for the newspaper Diaro and eventually gained a position in the executive board of the newspaper.

In 1992 Chávez founded the women’s rights activist group Ocho de Marzo (Eighth of March) de Ciudad Juárez, which protested strict new abortion legislation proposed by Mexico’s Partido de Acción Nacional. In 1993 Chávez began keeping track of findings of murdered women in and around Juárez, and Grupo Ocho de Marzo began calling on the government to do better at solving outstanding murder cases and bringing those responsible to justice. In 1996 she helped a group of 11 feminist activist groups to form the Coordinadora de Organismos No Gubernamentales contra la violencia hacia las mujeres (Coordination of Non-Governmental Organizations against violence towards women), to unite all of the NGOs working for the prosecution and prevention of crimes against women. Four years of struggle by this union of groups finally gained the opening of a special investigative unit for sex crimes in the Juárez police force.

In 1999, Chávez founded Casa Amiga, a shelter for women who have experienced physical or sexual abuse, and the only such shelter in Juárez at the time.

Esther Chávez died on December 25, 2009 after a long struggle with cancer.


8.6 linear feet (21 boxes)


Esther Chávez Cano founded the women’s rights advocacy group Ocho de Marzo (Eighth of March) in Ciudad Juárez in 1992. Soon after, she began organizing activist groups to work for the prosecution of murders of young women in Juárez. In 1999 Chávez founded Casa Amiga, a shelter for women who have experienced physical or sexual abuse. This collection is composed mostly of newspaper clippings chronicling violence against women in Juárez and the work of Chávez and other activists. Some records of these activist groups are also included.

Processing Information

Processed by Dennis Daily and Cecelia Romero, 2006. Updated by Charles Stanford and Laci Pope, November 2007. Updated by Kristopher Laumbach, May 2012.

Charles Stanford and Laci Pope, November 2007
Guide to the Esther Chávez Cano collection, 1988-2006
Edited Full Draft
Charles Stanford
© 2008
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the New Mexico State University Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

Branson Hall
PO Box 30006
MSC 3475
Las Cruces New Mexico 88003 USA