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Mexican consul eulogized as ‘caring to soul’ of community

Sylvia García Williams comforts a friend at St. Ignatius Loyola Parish in Sacramento on Thursday as they place roses on the casket of her sister Alejandra García Williams, consul general of Mexico, who died Monday. She was celebrated for immersing herself in the capital’s Latino community.
Sylvia García Williams comforts a friend at St. Ignatius Loyola Parish in Sacramento on Thursday as they place roses on the casket of her sister Alejandra García Williams, consul general of Mexico, who died Monday. She was celebrated for immersing herself in the capital’s Latino community. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Alejandra García Williams, a diplomat and human rights advocate who served as Mexico’s consul general in Sacramento for the past year, was eulogized Thursday as a uniting and healing presence for cultures divided by immigration tensions and the United States-Mexico border.

García Williams, 50, who died Monday of cancer, was appointed as consul general in Sacramento in June 2015, and was later promoted to the title of ambassador by President Enrique Peña Nieto.

She was celebrated Thursday for immersing herself in the Sacramento community and promoting initiatives to bring health care to underserved populations, help farmworkers suffering the economic effects of the California drought and provide scholarships for immigrant children embracing the American dream.

Alejandra had a boundless energy, especially for those who were suffering and in need. She was a strong advocate for the voiceless and vulnerable among us.

Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola

Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento said García Williams “tried with her heart to heal the wounds” of the border with Mexico that has separated Mexican families and been a source of tension in the United States.

“At her heart, Doña Alejandra’s work was caring to the soul of this restless community that was brought here to the United States,” said Soto, delivering her eulogy at the St. Ignatius Loyola Parish in Sacramento, where García Williams had been a member of the congregation. “That is not an easy mission. But then being a Mexican in Alta California is not either.”

García Williams, a diplomat who worked in Paris, Washington, D.C., and Mexico City, was Mexico’s deputy consul general in San Francisco from 2007 to 2009. She later served as consul general in the Orange County seat of Santa Ana from 2009 to 2015.

In Sacramento, she became known for directing consular programs to help thousands of Mexican migrants stranded in California during the drought. She arranged for return flights to Mexico for those who couldn’t afford to them and worked on programs providing clothes and food for those who stayed on as agricultural laborers.

The consulate also played a regional role in working with immigrant families in providing health care screening and partnering in scholarship offers so that high-achieving children of hundreds of people who came as migrant laborers could graduate from college.

“Alejandra had a boundless energy, especially for those who were suffering and in need,” said Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, a professor of clinical medicine at UC Davis and founding director of the university’s Center for Reducing Health Disparities. “She was a strong advocate for the voiceless and vulnerable among us.”

In an interview with The Sacramento Bee last year, García Williams noted that Latinos – most of Mexican ancestry – comprised a significant, contributing demographic in California.

“We have a strong voice and it’s going to be stronger,” she said. “Mexican Americans have contributed enormously to California’s economy and many are sending money back to Mexico and can be a real help to both countries.”

García Williams, who spoke English, Dutch and Spanish, earned her degree in international relations from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and a certificate in diplomacy, international finance and politics from Oxford University.

She is survived by her husband, French engineer Remi Lacombe, and her daughter, Anne-Sophie.

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