In 2006, my journey in Oaxaca kicked off with the vibrant and politically charged "Teachers' Strike." Braving tear gas and fires, I was unwavering in my commitment to capturing the spirit and determination of the protestors. Their relentless struggle for a living wage, essential classroom supplies, and basic support deeply resonated with me. I wanted to document this powerful movement while remaining unintrusive, which led me to opt for a humble Holga toy camera costing around $20 instead of my large digital equipment.
Oaxaca became a city in turmoil, besieged by strikers. Entry and exit points were blocked off, making it feel like an island cut off from the rest of the world. Months passed with the military attempting to regain control, resulting in violent and bloody confrontations between the protestors and armed forces.
For me, this was an entirely new experience. Tear gas filled the air, riots raged, and piles of rocks and bottles were readily available for the next battle on the street. The scenes were surreal and deeply impactful. These events were etched into my memory, raising questions about the enduring impact of such protests and the human capacity for change.
As the years rolled on, I often found myself reflecting on those tumultuous times. I continued to return to Oaxaca each summer, witnessing the "Teachers" once again taking to the streets. Their annual presence marked the onset of summer, a recurring reminder of the unyielding determination of the people in their struggle for a better education system and a brighter future.
Through my lens, I've attempted to capture not just the moments of protest but the enduring spirit of these individuals who have consistently fought for their rights. Their dedication, resilience, and commitment to their cause remain a source of inspiration and reflection, reminding us of the ongoing fight for justice and equality. It's a testament to the enduring power of collective action, even in the face of formidable challenges and the passage of time.
For more content regarding the Teachers' Strike in Oaxaca, please see videos below from international news sources.