-Reflection by Sarah Ponce
Today we met Josue, our program leader, who shared with us his experience as a DACA recipient and proud member of the Latinx LGBTQ community. Josue shared with us his work in organizing the community to stand up for their rights and in educating everyone who comes through the BorderLinks program to work together towards collective liberation. This introduction began the week with a theme of vulnerability, story-telling, listening, and learning. I look forward to learning even more throughout the week, because, as Josue taught us, education can either uphold current dominant social structures or challenge them. I believe that each of us on this immersion has the potential to gain a sense of empowerment and ownership over what each of us can do to create more space for those impacted by the immigration system.
As a group, we reflected on how the media portrays the border, how our communities see the border, how we, individually, see the border, and what other borders we may see in our communities beside the geographical borders. People shared based on their varying perspectives and we could recognize our own biases based on where we come from.
We also participated in an interactive timeline activity to learn about the history of immigration and human rights movements from the founding of the United States to today. This activity was extremely eye opening for everyone, not just because many of us were not aware of all the immigration related policies that have impacted many subgroups and nationalities, but because we were able to understand deeper historical patterns behind migration, such as the role of capitalism, international conflict, labor shortages, anti-communist ideologies, and racial discrimination. This activity was especially beneficial in envisioning how immigration policy has evolved over time (and reverted backwards), and what role that plays in my own understanding of immigration.
Both my paternal and maternal grandparents immigrated to the United States in the 1950’s and happened to arrive during a peaceful time in history in regard to allowing the easy documentation of immigrants. My privilege as a third-generation Mexican-American could be traced to the good fortune that my grandparents were alive when they were, crossed the border when they did, and were allowed a healthy and happy life they could pass on to their children and grandchildren. I am better able to understand my place in this timeline and the importance of keeping this knowledge alive.