In preparation for Justice GA in Phoenix, Ariz., (June 20-24, 2012) the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) have jointly organized three Service Learning trips to the U.S.-Mexico border with our partner organization, BorderLinks. In this blogpost Rev. Eric Cherry, the Director of the UUA's International Office, describes what is planned for the third trip which will begin on May 25th. The BorderLinks service learning trips are made possible through the generous contributions of UUA and UUSC donors. It was a privilege to journey with Unitarian Universalists who are engaged in a diverse array of ministries during the BorderLinks delegation last January. And last month (April) a second UUA/UUSC delegation had an equally powerful experience. Together the people on these delegations grew in understanding the complex justice issues related to the US/Mexico border. They also found room for theological reflection about those matters. And, through the eye-to-eye and heart-to-heart connections with people living in this context, each returned deeply committed to the ongoing religious work for immigration justice. The participants in this third UUA/UUSC delegation are also faith leaders engaged in diverse ministries: lay and ordained, in both parish and community settings. And, they are sure to have a deep and rich experience that will include visits with:
- Scholarships A-Z: A network of students and advisors working to make education accessible for all students. They help connect students to available resources and train them to be their own advocates.
- Grupos Beta: A Federal Mexican Organization that has offices along the northern and southern borders of Mexico and one in D.F. There mission is to protect the migrant.
- The Green Valley Samaritans: Volunteers who to into the desert on water runs and searches Their goal is to help protect any migrants they come across in the desert, in an effort to prevent deaths along the border region.
- Hogar de Esperanza y Paz (HEPAC): HEPAC is a sister organization to BorderLinks and a community center in Nogales, Sonora. Programs offered at HEPAC include adult education and training classes, and the Child Food Security Program, which provides lunch to children and education for their families on nutrition and gardening. HEPAC also is home to a women’s cooperative that produces jewelry that raises awareness about deaths in the desert.
- Observing Operation Streamline and analyzing its injustices with legal professionals who confront it constantly.