I recently merged the first article I wrote about No More Deaths which was for Industrial Union News, but evolved into what eventually appeared on POCO! with another article for POCO! after volunteering for the organization a second time. I sent it around a bit trying to get another news outlet to pick it up, and volunteered for them yet another time resulting in this third version written for Maximum Rock ‘N Roll.
Repression of Latin American Culture and Fighting Back in Arizona
by A. Iwasa
The US-Mexican border is arguably a low intensity warzone. I don’t use the term lightly, nor for dramitic effect. In 2011, the Obama Administration deported 396,906 undocumented people, setting a record high for the third consecutive year. There has also been 94 reported deaths on the US-Mexican border in Arizona since October 1, 2011, this isn’t the full story though. Tucson hit the national news again earlier this year when the Tucson Unified School District voted to ban Mexican American Studies and had the books removed while classes were in session. Now John Huppenthal, a state official involved in the ban is reported to be targeting the department of Mexican-American studies at the university and other college-level programs.
I believe these sorts of attacks on Mexican culture, in conjunction with xenophobic legislation such as SB 1070 has created the sort of environment where the April 8 shooting deaths of two Latino migrants in a wash that is part of the migrants’ trail near Eloy are a natural extension of government actions, especially since this occurred just after what has been reported to be the largest series of immigration raids ever.
I was recently able to spend a week volunteering for No More Deaths on the border near Arivaca. I spent most of the time doing water and food drops along the migrants’ trail for people who are walking from Mexico into the Unites States. There is also a major need for people with medical expertise to be in the desert to treat people who are abandoned, lost or somehow else separated from the group they are walking with. There are also other solidarity campaigns that No More Deaths and other groups are involved in on both sides of the border such as the Tucson Freedom Summer struggle to bring back Mexican American Ethnic Studies, http://www.tucsonfreedomsummer.com/. Please check http://www.nomoredeaths.org/ for more information on how to get involved.
For those who can’t come to Arizona and/or afford to make donations, please consider organizing a film screening or book reading circle in your community. Last year after volunteering for No More Deaths for the first time, I helped host a series of film screenings on immigration ranging from videos on the youtube about No More Deaths to Made in LA, The Invisible Mexicans of Deer Canyon and Dying to Live.
Suggested reading: Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario, The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea and Basta! Land and the Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas Third Edition by George Collier with Elizabeth Lowery Quaratiello which deals extensively with how the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has effected the Mexican economy and immigration.