(Newser) – A Mexican poet and hundreds of activists toured some of the most dangerous cities in Mexico last week on what he called a “trail of pain,” calling for an end to the violent drug war rocking the country. Javier Sicilia, whose 24-year-old son was killed in March by a narco gang, ended the trip across the border, asking local activists in El Paso, Texas, to take up his cause with the US government, urging it to do more to stem drug consumption and the transport of weapons to Mexico. "The United States and the silence of its citizens have imposed a war on us to stop something you consume, drugs," he said.

Since Sicilia’s son’s death, the 54-year-old has become the leader of a growing popular movement against the militarized drug war he believes has been doomed by a corrupt system. Forty thousand have been killed and another 10,000 gone missing since the drug war was launched in 2006, and the violence is spreading to previously quiet areas. Sicilia’s “Citizens Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity” aims to publicize victims’ pain, with many openly weeping at rallies. Ultimately, the coalition wants the drug war demilitarized, and discussions opened about legalizing drugs and halting US assistance to the Mexican military. Read more on the campaign in the Atlantic.