The Image Of Father And Daughter In The Rio Grande Has Devastated The Global Community

You’ve seen the image. The heartbreaking, devasting image. The two bodies, father and daughter, floating face down in the Rio Grande. This photo of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his daughter Valeria has shaken the world — but will it wake it up?

The two were trying to cross from Matamoros, in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, into Texas — a crossing so many are fighting to make. And yet, we’ve become desensitized to these horrors, to these lives lost, to these images. We see them as photos and statistics, rather than recognizing the lives lost. It’s so important to connect with the humanity that we share, to understand that these are more than images. They were people with hopes, dreams, lives, families, hobbies, and passions.

That’s why videos like this are so important. In this video, Ramírez’s mother, Rosa Ramírez, talks the BBC about saying goodbye to her son before he left for the Rio Grande and the enormity of their loss. You can see the whole video here:

We’ve seen far too many horrific images — and yet they don’t linger in our consciousness. They resonate and then they disappear. But Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez tried to cross the RIo Grande to give Valeria a better life. To give her a life we take for granted. The conversation has started — and we can’t let it stop.