Mexico’s drug violence and the role of the US are focus of forum at Rice’s Baker Institute Aug. 27

Poet Javier Sicilia, founder of Mexico’s “Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity,” will take part in a discussion on the human cost of current U.S. and Mexican drug policies at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy Monday, Aug. 27.

Javier Sicilia

Who: Javier Sicilia, poet and founder of Mexico’s “Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity.”

What: Vecinos Lecture Series: “Mexico’s Drug Violence and the Role of the United States: A Conversation with Poet Javier Sicilia.”

When: Monday, Aug. 27, 8:30-10:30 a.m.

Where: Rice University, Baker Hall, Kelly International Conference Facility, 6100 Main St.

After drug traffickers murdered his son in Mexico last year, Sicilia founded the “Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity.” Since then, he has been traversing Mexico accompanied by a caravan of families also affected by the country’s drug violence. Their goal is to challenge leaders to take responsibility for the violence and human suffering they argue is caused by existing government policies.

This summer, Sicilia is leading a similar caravan through two dozen U.S. cities, from San Diego to Washington, D.C, to raise awareness about Mexico’s national emergency and the role the United States plays in it.

Rice University’s Baker Institute, Américas Research Center, Department of Hispanic Studies and Office of Public Affairs will host a conversation between this social activist and a panel of Rice experts to discuss the current state of Mexico’s and the United States’ drug policies, as well as to shed light on the human cost of these endeavors. 

The Baker Institute experts joining Sicilia will be:

  • William Martin, the Harry and Hazel Chavanne Senior Fellow in Religion and Public Policy and Fellow in Drug Policy.
  • Tony Payan, Scholar for Immigration and Border Studies.

The event is free and open to the public. To register, visit A webcast of the event will be available at

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.