Las Cruces – New Mexico State University professor and librarian Molly Molloy has made it her personal endeavor to track and document the day-to-day killings in Mexico's deadliest city, Ciudad Juarez.
Via her Frontera List, Molloy has taken on the macabre task of keeping and reporting statistics obtained from local newspaper reports on the daily and cumulative count of the murders in Ciudad Juarez. The total number of homicides for 2010 alone is estimated to be around 3,100.
Even though a list about "border things" has been around at NMSU since the early 1990s, Molloy did not take over the task of running it until the early 2000s. By 2004 she changed it to an e-mail list. It wasn't until the sudden surge of violence in 2008 and her detailed acquisition of all pertinent articles that reporters and the media started using her list for facts and contact information.
"The list includes the article as well as information about the victim's name, age and gender, as well as where they were killed," Molloy said. "I feel it is important to show people who the victims are, then you can contradict the government's idea that everyone killed is a highly dangerous criminal, which is something difficult to believe when you see that the majority of those killed are between the ages of 15 and 22."
As the escalation of violence and crimes continued in Ciudad Juarez, national and international media started highlighting Molloy's work and bringing more attention to this issue. She has been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, NPR and In These Times online magazine.
"After the feature in The Wall Street Journal, my e-mail list for Frontera shot up from 200 to 450. Now the list has more than 650 people. There are reporters from at least a dozen major media from all over. Mexican journalists and reporters are happy someone is noticing what they are doing and paying attention to their work," she said.
To Molloy, the list she keeps signifies that someone is caring and making sure these victims have a voice that deserves to be heard. "It needs to be tracked because the U.S. and International newspapers are not reliably reporting on the issue. This is a human rights disaster, and we have a huge responsibility to the issue because our ignorance and denial led to this."
The Frontera list has provided a way to give victims a name, a face and a history and has shed light on the major crisis Mexicans are experiencing every day.
"I still go to Juarez, usually once a month, but I'm not scared. It's not like I'm trying to be some kind of hero or anything. What I'm doing isn't heroic, I'm just gathering articles. The real heroes are the people living in Juarez. It's their reality. They have to face the horror every day. And anything we can do to get the word out helps," she said.
Molloy hopes to create an in-depth database containing all of the information she has gathered through the years.
"I want to create a database starting in 2008 with all possible details of as many people as possible. Age, gender, where they were killed and so on, information that is found in every article and can be helpful for not only media but for researchers, victim's families and the public in general," she said.
To Molloy, the extreme violence seen in Ciudad Juarez "just doesn't make any sense" and she hopes that what she is doing, however small, will give it the attention it deserves.
"It's a big deal, and we need to make sure that people are informed about it," she said.
For more information, or to receive Molloy's Frontera List, go to http://groups.google.com/group/frontera-list?hl=en