The U.S.- Mexico Borders Studies course finished in a big way this fall by sharing a presentation with the rest of the school and the community. Students were excited to share all they had learned over block and spread the word. Students had the opportunity to choose a project that resonated with them based on something that they were inspired by during the course. Different booths were set up in the Cottonwood A Gallery displaying various projects such as indigenous cultural rights, migration work, Keep Prescott Together, Agua Prieta, environmental impacts, a timeline of history leading up to the construction of the border, passionate blog posts, poetry and art. The event had a great turnout and the room was full of energy.
Adjunct faculty member Michelle Banks had the pleasure of teaching this year’s U.S.-Mexico Border Studies course and said that her students were “an incredible group to work with.” She was amazed by the outstanding group of artists and writers that took her block. Michelle was also pleased by how excited and passionate her students became to take action after all they had learned. For instance, some of the students proposed the idea of starting a future legal clinic called “Keep Prescott Together” which grows out of “Keep Tucson Together”. They were inspired by the all-volunteer run legal clinic and the work they were doing to help migrants by demystifying the immigration process and assisting in DACA applications. The class was on the road visiting different organizations and partners for the majority of the month-long block course in Puerto Penasco and Agua Prieta in Sonora, Mexico, the Arizona border town of Douglas, and Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona.
Other students were inspired by the environmental impacts related to the U.S.- Mexico Border after the class met with the Sierra Club. Cameron Leonard took it upon himself to delve deeper into this subject area by examining the environmental impacts resulting from the Real ID Act of 2005. In Cameron’s presentation he described environmental impacts that are caused by the border wall that are often overlooked which includes habitat destruction, blocking the migration of species, and increased flooding. Cameron drew attention to the fact that many people do not realize that the border wall disrupts the natural watershed. Cameron explained how, “The government can wave any law in the name of security when it comes to border construction. If you have to wave the Clean Air Act, what are you doing?” Cameron was grateful for the opportunity to travel through border communities in this class because he believes he has a better understanding after seeing it first-hand. Now he can make more informed-decisions when voting on immigration issues and can help others do the same.