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Remembering Uriel Loya Deister (1988-2018)

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Remembering Uriel Loya Deister (1988-2018)

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Uriel Loya stood up for his community and what he believed was right and it cost him his life.

Uriel Ulberto Loya Deister, president of Coparmex Parral, was murdered on September 23,in his hometown of Hidalgo del Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico, at the age of 30.

Uriel Loya attended Cotter in 2007 as a gap year after completing high school in Mexico.  Uriel made many friends as a member of the class of ’07. While Uriel was a student at Cotter he had a profound influence on his peers and teachers; he was a strong advocate of social justice and doing what was right.

Uriel (red shirt far right) with his senior homeroom on celebration day in 2007.

After graduation Uriel attended the Institute of Technology Monterrey. Uriel began working for Coparmex, a business alliance that supports commerce, fights against corruption, and actively works to improve the lives of the working-class.

Image result for uriel loya deister

Uriel Loya speaks to the press in his role as head of Coparmex in Parral

In addition to Coparmex, Uriel became the head of the Citizen Council of Transparency. Uriel worked tirelessly to promote legal resolutions to combat corruption; as a result he was brutally murdered after dining at a restaurant in his hometown of Parral in the state of Chihuahua.

At a  morning prayer assembly on September 27, Cotter’s president, Sr. Judy Schaefer, spoke of Uriel in her comments to the student body.  The theme of remarks was what it means to be a true friend. and how this means loving, honoring, and respecting those around us. Sr. Judy said that these were values that Uriel had lived his life by and she challenged the current students to do the same, asking them “Which values do you want to live your lives by?”

Will Gibson, former Cotter admissions director, got to know Uriel and his best friend Ricardo Perez while they attended Cotter.

“Hector Reyes, from Chihuahua, was the first to notify me of Uriel’s death.  He was correct in guessing that the Cotter community in Winona- and truly all around the world- would want to know the news and offered prayers of support for Uriel and his family.  As you will find on various Facebook pages, Uriel touched many lives at Cotter and his death has saddened and angered so many of us that knew him. The Cotter community in Parral is truly an extension of the Cotter community in Winona and other cities around the world.  We all miss Uriel.  He was a true gentleman, and was at work promoting anti-corruption policies and advocating for a better, more effective, government in his area.  I will always remember his true interest in the well-being of whoever he met,”  Gibson said.

The city of Parral. Photo by Will Gibson

“I visited Parral in February of 2008 to reconnect with students like Uriel and Ricardo that had already studied at Cotter, and interview new students.    For example, Mauricio Perez, brother of Ricardo, and Aram Cano both came to Cotter the following semester.  For many years, Cotter enjoyed strong relationships in Parral and the state’s capital city, Chihuahua.”

Will Gibson (middle), Uriel (right) and Ricardo Perez (left).

 

Location of Hidalgo del Parral, Mexico. Hometown of Uriel Loya Deister

 

Uriel carving a Hallow3een pumpkin in Krisstie O’Brien’s class in 2007

“The world lost a beautiful soul, he had no social, political or economic bias towards anyone, and everyone adored him in return. May justice prevail for Uriel. May we all be comforted by the fire he will continue to light for this world. I extend my most profound condolences to the Loya Deister family.”  former Cotter teacher Kristie O’Brien said.

Uriel on a bout ride on the Mississippi River, photo by Kristie O’Brien

 

“It is truly tragic news.  I had Uriel in one class and homeroom when he was at Cotter and along with his friend Ricardo Perez, he brought a lot of light to the group.  He was a natural leader who was very proud of his culture, I am not surprised to hear about the work he was doing for his community.  I can’t imagine the pain his family and friends are feeling,” Cotter teacher Mike Costello said.

“I was shocked to hear about Uriel’s death, it brought me great sadness, but I knew it could happen,” Cotter principal Dave Forney said.

 

Uriel at Cotter prom in 2007, standing next to his friend from Parral, Ricardo Perez

Mexican authorities have apprehended suspects including a member of the Sinaloa cartel in connection with the killing.  There was a national outcry in response to the murder.

The Loya Deister family awaits justice, but nothing will replace the void that Uriel filled. Uriel will be remembered for his determination to make the world a better place.

No definimos cuando nacer o morir. Cuantos días o años vivir. Pero sí decidimos que nuestra vida sea trascendente, con las acciones de cada día. En memoria de Uriel Ulberto Loya y representando a la familia Coparmex Nacional, pronuncié un mensaje en el homenaje que en su honor organizó hoy Coparmex Parral

Posted by Gustavo De Hoyos Walther on Tuesday, September 25, 2018

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Remembering Uriel Loya Deister (1988-2018)