Mother’s Day
Monumento a la Madre
Mexico City, 2017

In the morning, a song percolated through the crowd. It swifted in the air, the words lingered, “Aunque sea en una tumba, quiero verte,” (Even if it’s in a tomb, I want to see you). Gregoria Ortiz Garnica fought back tears and stared at the sun, a photo of her son, Gustavo, in her hands. The boy disappeared in 2007 at the age of 12, on his way home from school, in the city of Pachuca.

“We have dedicated ourselves to this task of finding him,” Ortiz said. “But ten years have passed and we haven’t been able to find out what happened.”

The boy is one of more than 27,000 people to have vanished in Mexico since 2006. On Mother’s Day, the families of the disappeared marched through the streets — down Paseo de la Reforma, to the Ángel de la Independencia monument — a river of photographs of the missing flowing through the heart of the city.

Gustavo Alberto de la Cruz, who has been gone for a decade now, would have turned 22 in 2017. His mother thinks of him every day. She wants him to know that she is looking for him, that she, too, will not stop until she finds him.

“When I think of him,” she said, “I think of him married, with children, and that one day he is going to return.”

Above, a woman stands underneath Monumento a la Madre (Monument to the Mother), a towering statue of a woman embracing her child, on Mother’s Day. The signon her skirt reads “Ni una más” (Not one more).