On September 19, 1985, at around 7:19 a.m. a powerful earthquake struck Mexico City, toppling buildings and killing over 10,000 people in a matter of hours. I was 16, and had (almost miraculously) made it to 7:00 a.m. class for a biology partial exam. Needless to say, the exam never took place. The two-story building where my school was located began shaking pretty badly. We panicked. My teacher was crying hysterically. We were directed to evacuate immediately and move to a nearby park where we huddled up shaking, crying, following news updates on a transistor radio; listening to nothing but the somber voice of the venerable Jacobo Zabludovsky.
Thirty-two years later, on the morning of September 19, 2017, as Mexicans remembered that very awful day, tragedy struck again: A 7.1-magnitud earthquake struck near Mexico City, toppling many buildings and killing dozens of people (including little children,) unleashing chaos in an already chaotic capital.
My entire family lives in Mexico City, where I was born and raised and which was badly hit on both occasions, and while they’re all safe and sound (thank god,) so many others have not been so fortunate: At press time, many people were still trapped under crumbling buildings, and many, many others were unaccounted for.
I’m writing this from San Francisco, where I’m spending the week for work and feeling pretty helpless for not being able to be there physically, helping out. But if this new Mexican tragedy serves any purpose, let it be a reminder that Mexicans are a people with a huge heart that, in moments like this will come together as one, regardless what the so-called leader of the free-world would want you to believe.
If Mexicans are good at something is to know how to go about when the going gets tough — and, boy we’ve had it tough, like, forever.
As Twitter would say: #FuerzaMéxico