by Brooke Niemer
Today we started off our day simulating different situations that migrants face. We represented thirteen different individuals trying to gain citizenship in the United States, compared to the millions of people who apply for citizenship per year. Each of us had a different character with different socioeconomic statuses, home countries, education levels, and family situations. For my character, I was a white male from the United Kingdom who was a millionaire and a soccer player, and I had a criminal background. Just because I had money, I had the quickest way to gain citizenship. After hearing everyone else’s stories, it was a very hard realization that if often takes decades to even have a green card or a work visa. Even those who have families in the U.S. does not always give them a hand up when trying to attain citizenship. It was so frustrating to hear that people who are living in fear and extreme poverty, are still not able to have an easier path.
Then we traveled to the San Xavier Mission. Upon arrival, many of us were confused about why we were there. We took a walk and rock climb up to the top of a hill with a cross on top. It was an opportunity to reflect on our immersion and life. I also realized that that we are on stolen land and recognized how beautiful the land is. Then I walked around the mission, and mostly into the church. It was very beautiful and different memorials were set up and candles were laid down in honor of people. During reflection this evening, we came to the understanding that we were there to realize the history of colonization and forced religion upon the native people. We had to reflect on religion and the impact it has on society, and ways that religion and spirituality has positively and negatively benefited society.