Prayers for Rubén

Chair for: Magdaleno Rubén Lauro Villegas

Designed and created by Team Livingston~Phelps
Tucson, AZ

My co-artist, Karen, and I used a red chair because of Rubén's love of the color red. In his bio we read that he always carried his red backpack. We added beautiful blue Mexican paper flowers around the chair frame to honor traditional Mexican culture. Also, to honor his love for all growing things because he came from an agricultural family. The green angel holding the red candle is placed on the chair to watch over and care for his spirit with great love. The silver Virgin of Guadalupe to the left of Magdaleno Reuben's portrait is sending prayers and holding his spirit high. We placed 3 small ears of corn on the seat of our chair to symbolize his agricultural roots and his love for the Earth and all living things. There is a beautiful small bird fastened over Ruben's portrait. This was added as our prayer that God will speed his return home to his family. We add our prayer to the prayers of so many others who have prayed for the return of all 43 students who disappeared

Hover your mouse over the text to stop the scrolling; move your mouse away from the text to begin scrolling
The Artist
The Student
El Estudiante
The Location
Location Images

About this Artist

Karen L. Phelps

Tucson, AZ
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
About this Artist Deborah Livingston Tucson, AZ Deb is a retired nurse whose main focus in life has been caring for others. She and her husband raised four children in Tucson and now are grandparents to six wonderful grandkids. As a Friend (Quaker) and as the chairperson of the Tucson branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom her life goal is to be a peacemaker. The medium for her art is silver and turquoise. KAREN L. PHELPS Karen has lived in the magnificent Tucson desert for 40 years. She has endeavored to work for social change, justice, and peace via involvement with the Women's Commission, the Partnership Way, Women Confronting Racism, the Global Art Project, and other similarly oriented organizations. Her passion is acting as a conduit to connect people. She was a member of Batucaxe, which was a percussion band emphasizing Afro-Brazilian music. As a retiree, she is connecting with her creative energy via painting classes, drum circles, the Empty Chair

Biography [English]

Magdaleno Rubén Lauro Villegas

His reserve gives him away By Tanya Guerrero Illustration by Carlos Ibarra Magdaleno Rubén Lauro Villegas is quiet but his actions are loud and clear. Since he was five years old, his character has reflected his determination. Ruben's other quality is his perseverance. His mother remembers that when he saw his older brothers heading to primary school, he didn't want to go to kindergarten, saying, 'I want to go to a school for big children..' That day, with his first red backpack (red being his favorite color), he started the same class as his brothers. He finished the class successfully but his brothers didn't. He was a student of the only secondary school of Tlatzala, a Náhuatl community located up in the mountains in the municipality of Tlapa de Comonfort. There, in one of the 30 chairs in the classroom of reed-grass walls and roof, dirt floor - was a soon to be a permanent classroom of concrete and good floor. Rubén attended for three years in a school named Tomás Vergel Castillo with a teacher who had graduated from the Normal Rural of Ayotzinapa, who seven years ago thought it to be a good idea to create the school near the community so young people didn't have to walk 40 minutes to the school in Tlapa. His quietness and reserve defined Magdaleno Rubén. This quality is most mentioned in the last 9 months. His family has not stopped searching for him. The small piece of land that Magdaleno helped his father till is also missing him; since September 26th, no seed has grown there. His father waits for Rubén to return to till the land again. The dreams of his return keep his parents alive and with hope. Francisco Lauro and Juliana Villegas often vision their 19-year-old son, timid and proud nehuatl, walk in through the door of their modest house; a house located three blocks from the church of the village. They still hear him, telling them - in short sentences - how his day was, what he ate, and the continued questions of 'would it be possible to quit school to help father work the land?' His brothers also see him, walking in the middle of the night through the dirt roads of the village, always carrying the red backpack and indeed very tired after 5 km walk from school those Fridays when he attended the classes and missed the last bus home. His perseverance was his primary character. That is not the case in many young people of Tlatzala. They attend primary school, then the secondary school to graduate and follows the father's path to work the land. It is this way of thought - historic inertia - that make some people in the village accuse don Francisco and doña Juliana for letting Rubén go to study. They say, 'he could be working the land and not be disappeared.' Text belongs to: campaña Marchando con letras (translated by Juan C Gallardo)

Biografía [Español]

Magdaleno Rubén Lauro Villegas

Magdaleno Rubén Lauro Villegas es callado pero sus acciones gritan. Desde los cinco años, éstas fueron reflejo de su fuerza de voluntad. Si algo caracteriza a Rubén es su perseverancia. Su madre recuerda que cuando vio partir a sus dos hermanos mayores a la primaria, él no quiso entrar al kínder porque quería ir “a una escuela para grandes”. Ese día, con su primera mochila roja, color que desde aquí se convertiría en su favorito para transportar sus útiles, entró a la misma primaria en donde todos sus hermanos reprobaron un año, menos él. Fue alumno de la segunda generación de la única secundaria de Tlatzala, una comunidad náhuatl ubicada en la montaña alta del municipio de Tlapa de Comonfort. Ahí, en alguna de las 30 bancas resguardadas por paredes y techo de carrizo —que pronto serán sustituidas por aulas de cemento y piso firme—, Rubén cursó tres años en la escuela que lleva por nombre Tomás Vergel Castillo, un profesor egresado de la Normal Rural de Ayotzinapa, a quien hace siete años le pareció buena idea de que los jóvenes de la comunidad no tuvieran que caminar 40 minutos hasta Tlapa para poder seguir estudiando tres años más. Los silencios son los que definen a Magdaleno Rubén. De eso se habla más en esta ausencia de, ya, nueve meses. Su familia no ha parado de buscarlo desde el momento en el que desapareció. El pedazo de tierra que él ayudaba a sembrar con su padre, también ha resentido su ausencia. Desde ese 26 de septiembre, ninguna semilla ha germinado ahí. Ellos esperan que sea él quien regrese para plantar la de la próxima cosecha. Los sueños son los que mantienen vida, vívida, la esperanza de sus padres. Francisco Lauro y Juliana Villegas suelen imaginar a su muchacho de 19 años, tímido y orgulloso náhuatl, entrar por la puerta de su modesta vivienda construida a tres calles de la iglesia del pueblo; incluso lo escuchan cuando les cuenta —entre monosílabos y gruñidos— cómo le fue, lo que comió y hasta discutir sobre si ya debería dejar la escuela para mejor dedicarse al campo para ayudar a su papá. Sus hermanos también lo sueñan caminando de noche por las polvosas calles del pueblo, cargando su eterna mochila roja y cansado luego de recorrer, a pie, los cinco kilómetros que separan su escuela de bachilleres de su casa en uno de esos viernes en lo que, por quedarse a todas las clases, ya no alcanzaba el último transporte. Es esa fuerza de voluntad la que define a Rubén, la que le falta a la mayoría de los jóvenes de Tlatzala, que estudian la primaria, ahora, por fin, la secundaria, para después seguir los pasos de sus padres sembrando maíz en la montaña. Y esa inercia histórica es la que hace que don Francisco y doña Juliana sean hasta juzgados por haber dejado ir a Rubén a estudiar, cuando “podría estar sembrando, y no desaparecido”. Texto perteneciente a la campaña Marchando con letras

The Chair's Location

YWCA
525 N Bonita Ave
Tucson AZ USA

Location Images

\