Have you been overwhelmed by recent news reports of refugees gathered on our southern border seeking asylum? Haitian citizens escaping the devastation from hurricanes and political upheaval camping under a bridge in Texas. Central American adolescents trying to escape the gang and drug recruitment. Do you want to “deepen your understanding of borders, migration, and social justice?” This is the mission of a non-profit in Tucson, Arizona, called BorderLinks.  

“BorderLinks offers experiential learning opportunities that explore the causes and difficulties of migration, as well as the impact of U.S. immigration policies, bringing to the forefront the voices of migrants and people who are committed to social change.”

Professors Debra Swanson (Sociology) and Berta Carrasco (Spanish) invite you to join them May 2022 for the May term class Borderlands: Migration, Immigration and Social Justice.  

We will be working with Borderlinks to provide students with experiences and speakers that deal with social justice on our Arizona/Mexico border.

Here are some of the things we have planned:

  • Hike in the desert and conduct a water drop
  • Travel along the Wall and examine the changes in the infrastructure that divide these communities 
  • Visit migrant empowerment centers and interview volunteers working in migrant relief
  • Drink coffee at Café Justo y Mas, a coffee cooperative to support Mexican coffee farmers negatively impacted by NAFTA – the profits support drug culture intervention and prevention
  • Tour an historic Spanish Catholic mission on the Tohono O’odham Nation San Xavier Indian Reservation and sample the fry bread sold to support the mission
  • Advocate for LGBTQ people in detention through detention center visitations, letter-writing, bond fundraising, case support, and post-detention hospitality

Before we travel in May, we will meet three different times for three hours in the Spring semester to prepare for our trip: learning some basic Spanish or practicing the Spanish we know, meeting with some researchers who have looked at how attitudes toward working as Border patrol agents are impacted by race and gender, reading the history of the region where we will be traveling and getting to know each other. When we are in Tucson, we will be living in the Borderlinks dormitory, cooking and living together in an intentional community.

After our trip, we will spend our final week together in Holland debriefing our experience, reflecting on all we have learned and putting together an action plan. This class will fulfill your International Global Flag requirement for Gen Ed. You can take the class for Sociology, Peace and Justice or Senior Seminar credit. Those taking the class for Senior Sem will be using the experience as part of a lifeview paper and presentation. And, finally, we will celebrate!

Applications for the May 2022 course are due by December 1.  

For more information, email Professor Swanson or Professor Carrasco.

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