Daniela: “I got involved with School of the Americas Watch (SOA) after attending their Fall and Spring semester events last school year. In addition to being among the seven students that went to the Encuentro with the Politics Department to participate in the actions and lead a workshop, I was invited by a couple of the organizers to join the Media Collective. While there, I helped the SOA Watch team with logistics as we prepared for our weekend, creating social media content and preparing statements to be released to the public. I learned a lot about what it takes to put on these events and movements, and about what it is like to live as a social organizer.”
Daniela: “The actual Encuentro was a three day event of workshopping, actions, and collective solidarity building.
The first day we held demonstrations at Milkor USA, and arms manufacturer in Tucson, AZ, that makes weapons including grenades that are used to violently repress migrants. That night, we held a vigil at the Eloy Detention center, the deadliest prison in the United States where countless migrant peoples are being held and subjected to inhumane conditions.
Our Saturday was workshop day, and the IC Border Encuentro Group lead a workshop on “Youth Mobilizing Against Border Imperialism” in we opened with a presentation on what border imperialism is and how it affects communities. We based our analysis on the works of Harsha Walia and Todd Miller, who wrote “Undoing Border Imperialism” and “Storming the Wall”.
For the second half of our workshop we opened up the floor for discussion and contributions from those who attended, and we got to hear about efforts of resistance and solidarity in campuses across the country, as well as the experiences of young people living in militarized zones like Nogales, Arizona.”
What are some lessons learned or new perspectives that were gained by going through these experiences?
Daniela: “Two big takeaways for me were:
1) Just how privileged my classmates and I are to be politically active in our IC community without having to fear for our safety and freedom, and how this underscores our responsibility to make visible to experiences of those who are most oppressed under our military-industrial political structure.”
2) Everything is everything. The issues we see at the border are the same ones we see iterated in our own communities. The same mechanisms that separate migrant families separate communities of color by disproportionately imprisoning our mothers and fathers. This means that when we understand that interrelation between all issues: migrant rights, indigenous rights, climate change, settler colonial imperialism, the prison-industrial complex and the military industrial complex, we understand that attacking one of these issues means attacking all of these issues. This is why networks of trans-national solidarity are so important.”