Final Reflections: Autumn

During our short week in Arizona/Mexico I have learned so much. The experiences I have had this week opened the eyes of my heart and mind and have touched me in many ways. Leaving this trip I want to take the stories from the migrants and others home with me. One moment that really meant a lot to me was visiting the Juan Bosco migrant shelter in Nogales Mexico. There we heard the stories of three boys who wanted to cross the border or have tried to cross the border for a better life and to escape violence in their country. One of the young boys tried crossed the border and tried to cross the desert, but when one of the group members got injured he decided to stay back with him instead of leaving him behind like the rest did. As he ran out of water and was severely dehydrated he decided to go out to the road and turn himself in to the border patrol. Where we are from, we don’t hear about what actually happens out on the border; we stay ignorant and just believe anything the media tells us. With hearing this story and the many others I want to inform as many people at home about what is really happening at the border. People need to know these migrants are not illegal. No human is illegal, they are human. These are fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers, friends, and family. The migrants come for work or education, or are fleeing from their country. These are good people who just want the best for their family.

We also talked to border patrol officers. At first I wanted to hate them because they are arresting these innocent people, but I realized they are not the problem, the law is. They are just enforcing the law, and they actually save a lot of migrant lives out in the desert. I still think the way they go about their job could be different and maybe some could go about it in a less brutal way. For example we passed by the spot where Jose Antonio was shot to death by border patrol officers. The issue is that Jose was an innocent boy walking down the street at night in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, while the Border Patrol officers were from the USA, and were shooting into Mexico from the US side. This really touched me because it showed the brutal side of the border patrol. I want to inform the people around me about this because it did not get a lot of publicity like it should have. I personally believe the Border Patrol just want to protect us from dangerous people, but they have to learn that Mexican does not equal bad.

With these stories in experiences fresh in my mind I want to share these stories in honor of these migrants. I want friends and family to be aware of the actual situation, and to not oppress and stereotype because of what media tells us. I want people to realize these are humans, and that if we open the eyes of our hearts we can see that.

- Autumn, Grace Church, New Bedford