Border series gives context to immigration

The 7th annual Border Justice Series came to a close Saturday, ending the three-day event with food, dancing and information for the community at Civic Space Park.

The Border Justice series is headed by ASU New College to bring information about the border and immigration to students and the community with music, plays and speakers.

Michelle Tellez, associate professor of women’s studies in the Division of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, started working with the Border Justice events in spring 2006. She was the organizer of this year’s Border Justice series.

Students from the master’s program of Social Justice and Human Rights Research program at ASU New College helped organize the events at the West campus and Civic Space Park near the Downtown campus.

The theme of this year’s event was “Families, Border and Justice,” and gave information to students and families about the border and its effects on Arizona.

“Immigration is a very hot topic,” Tellez said. “It’s a series that addresses the kind of issues that need to be discussed.”

There were 18 different organizations at the event including Chicanos Por la Causa, Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health, Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, No Mas Muertes and Worker Rights Center. Each organization went on stage to inform the community who they were and how they can help.

There were signs decorating the stage with handprints and statements like “unity=understanding.”

Ollin Yoliztli, a Mexican folklore ballet dance group, took the stage between speeches.

Kelly McCarty, a graduate student in Social Justice and Human Rights, headed up the committee for the Saturday event.

“We just wanted to make that connection between the University and the community, … tell them we care about these issues and we want to engage them in this kind of dialogue about what do we do about the border,” McCarty said.

Writer, activist and filmmaker Jose Palafox spoke about how students need to get more involved and how Arizona needs more events like Border Justice.

“Aqui estamos, aqui nos vamos y aqui nos quedamos,” Palafox said in Spanish, which means, “Here we are, we’re coming here and here we’ll stay.”

Students from Teatro Nopalero, a theater group, performed a skit for the crowd about the DREAM Act and how Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is going to start pushing for the act.

Alejandra Matias, an accounting junior, helped run the Arizona DREAM Act.

“We want them to know that we exist, we’re in their campus, and we look just like them and we want to have the same opportunities,” Matias said.

The event ended around 6 p.m. with a prayer from the O’odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective.

“It’s great for scholars to debate border issues and that kind of stuff, but until we bring to the community and get the community involved, we’re not going to get anything done,” McCarty said.

Reach the reporter at mpareval@asu.edu