Pages Navigation Menu

A fine line between participation and disrespect

By | Comments Off on A fine line between participation and disrespect

  Yes, we’ve all seen them. Stashed among the droves of revelers on Halloween, flooding the streets in small masses of glitter and leather, a Pocahottie will emerge from behind the crowd, with fringed suede frock hiked high above her knees, a feathered headband framing her face, smeared red from the ambiguous tribal paint that didn’t survive the sweaty evening. Next to her, two guys in striped ponchos give each other a high five, disturbing their cartoonish sombreros and skewing their oversized black moustaches in laughter.  Saris, kimonos, black braids, and turbans have become staples of Halloween, a veritable United Nations of cultural representation that many would argue is highly distasteful. Cultural appropriation, the adoption of cultural elements that are not one’s own, has been a hot button issue in recent years, most notably surrounding the costumes and physical...

Read More

Hotline aids families of border crossers

By | Comments Off on Hotline aids families of border crossers

  The office of Coalición de Derechos Humanos is quiet on this Thursday afternoon. At a long table by the door, the knotted brows of volunteers are lit by MacBooks as they comb over papers and speak quietly on cell phones. A tapestry of La Virgen de Guadalupe hangs below a clock by the window, framed by silver tinsel and an oversized purple and white rosary.  The single room is dimly lit by privacy windows, afternoon sunlight bouncing off endless stacks of papers, colorful tissue flowers, posters and plastic bins overflowing with white wooden crosses, many of which are labeled “UNK” for unknown.  One cross for every body found in the desert.  There are hundreds strewn around the office. “There are 2,771 crosses, so 2,771 human remains since 2000,” says Cristen VernonCoalición de Derechos Humanos, Missing Migrant Hotline coordinator...

Read More

Group defends, advocates for transgender detainees

By | Comments Off on Group defends, advocates for transgender detainees

  Karolina Lopez considers herself a woman.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents do not. Lopez is transgender. She immigrated to the United States to escape discrimination in her home country of Mexico, only to encounter further abuse in Arizona. She spent three years in the all-male ICE detention center in Eloy, Arizona. She remembers them as the worst years of her life. The guards played keep-away with her false breasts. Other detainees stole her food and she often went days without eating. She received threats of injury and rape.    “I would never wish for anyone to suffer as I did,” Lopez said.  Such cruel treatment is a reality for many transgender migrants in the U.S. Almost 40 percent of transgender women incarcerated in ICE facilities have reported suffering sexual abuse, according to a 2013 report by the Bureau...

Read More

Border artist paints new tint on the fence

By | Comments Off on Border artist paints new tint on the fence

  Thick, rusty-brown steel plates loom 20-feet high over Ambos Nogales, signaling the physical and symbolic delineation between the United States and Mexico.  Ana Teresa Fernández wants to change that.  In October, she took to the streets with her tools of resistance, paint and a paint brush, to “erase the border” in Ambos Nogales. She chose a pale blue to give the impression that the wall is an extension of the sky. In 2012, Fernández, a bi-national artist based in San Francisco, painted the border fence in Tijuana, Mexico, the colors of the sand and sea that could be seen through the tall posts.   Her art in Nogales and Tijuana has gained national attention as part of a larger movement of art and activism along both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border that is re-imagining what the border looks like...

Read More