By Alejandra Andrade ‘20, undergraduate assistant for HNU’s Center for Social Justice and Civic Engagement
On November 30, 10 students from Holy Names University traveled to Nogales, Arizona to participate in the annual School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) Border Encuentro vigil and protest. The delegation took part in activities to promote justice and peace and bring awareness to immigration policies.
“The 2018 Border Encuentro was an eye-opening and emotional experience. The program taught me about the root cause of migration. It gave me a sense of responsibility to not only educate others but to fight against the powers that try to oppress and silence the people.” said Deja Alewine, graduate assistant for HNU’s Center for Social Justice and Civic Engagement.
For 28 years the SOAW has been dedicated to closing the School of Americans/Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHINSEC) and ending US economic, military, and political Latin American intervention. The SOAW wants to end these systems of oppression and dismantle border imperialism.
Over three days, students learned, protested, and felt the emotion at the border.
On day 1, students participated in a protest at Milkor USA, a private arms producer. That night they gathered with other protestors at the Eloy Detention Center, where they protested and yelled loud and proud, so that those who are unrighteously detained could hear them and know that they are with them in solidarity.
"Shut it down, were the words ringing in my head, as I heard and saw the systems that are corrupting our nations. 'Shut it down' I yelled as I was at Eloy Detention Center. 'Shut it down' because of those who are against humanity.” Antonio Estrada '20 recounted.
On day 2, students traveled to Nogales, Sonora, Mexico to gain knowledge from various workshops. They participated in a vigil in memoriam of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a teen from Nogales that was shot and killed by a border patrol agent. In the evening, they attended a concert at the border in which various artists performed and brought people together through music.
On day 3, the students traveled back to Nogales, Sonora, Mexico to attend the Litany and Presentes vigil and honor the memory of over 500 individuals killed by border patrol agents.
Lastly, the students participated in the Puppetistas funeral procession, an event that celebrated emotional and joyful togetherness.
A video documenting the trip was created by Deja Alewine, graduate assistant for HNU’s Center for Social Justice and Civic Engagement: