Immigrant Rights: Building Bridges, Not Walls (Arizona)
In the context of the ongoing national debate over immigration reform, Arizona’s SB1070 and the recently reversed HB2281 legislation, and other federal laws we will examine Arizona as an epicenter of cross-cultural dynamism and tension. In our DeCal we will focus on the various causes for migration from Latin America to the U.S., setting a historical foundation for understanding the present state of immigration policy. We will also highlight the voices of those who are often overlooked such as womxn, LGBTQ, and Central Americans. On our trip, we hope to immerse ourselves in the complex intersections between Arizona’s communities, all cohabiting in a tumultuous environment which forces the signs of protesters to remind the world “We Have Rights,” “Do I Look Illegal?” and “We Are Human.” We believe it is important to understand both sides of the story, and will examine the movements that support and resist SB1070 and HB2281 bills and implications of federal legislation. As such, past trips have spoken with politicians, activists, community organizers, religious communities, border patrol officers, migrant workers, and community members to encounter a wide array of perspectives.
Break Leader BiosEdith Soto
Edith is a first generation college student pursuing a B.A. in Economics. She was raised in Los Angeles where her parents immigrated to from Mexico. Her pastimes as of late include Netflix-ing; however, she also enjoys discovering and covering music, drawing, and playing sports. During her first year at UC Berkeley she took part in Alternative Breaks as a participant on the Arizona trip. In this program she learned about the various anti-immigrant policies and perspectives both within and outside of the state. Motivated by her own family’s experience and the experiences of others, she cultivated a passion for advocating immigrant rights and serving marginalized communities. This year she will be co-leading the Arizona trip in hopes of continuing to learn while supporting and growing with the participants as together they work towards understanding and learning about the social justice issues facing immigrants in the state.Calixtho Lopes
Since transferring to Cal I have been engaged in various equity and social justice programs such as Alternative Breaks. Although each space I have been involved with has had an immense impact on my personal and professional development, I have decided to continue my engagement with Alternative Breaks given the level of transformation that experience induced. Among challenging my Latinidad, this experience also raised questions around organizing across cultural and generational lines. In addition, I learned about the immigration and undocumented experience outside of the “progressive” California bubble; one that offered insight on the impact of anti-immigrant policies in the hyper conservative state of Arizona. Although it was disheartening to hear about the deliberate and violent targeting of policies, it was beautiful to experience and see the level of resistance under such a toxic political climate.
Having been raised by a mother who has been a permanent resident since the 80s, I never had a negative experience with immigration policy. This all changed when my brother in law was deported to Tijuana, Mexico, prompting the relocation of my US born nieces and nephew. Since then I have set out to understand immigration policy, and advocate for immigrant rights. As a Break Leader for the Arizona trip this year, I hope to continue contributing to the meaningful experience Alternative Breaks creates; most importantly, I intend to continue the conversation centered on love and building community across states; always with the goal to challenge and ultimately dismantle systems of oppression.