Action Plan: Steps to Understanding Social Justice at the Border

Written By Lily, Freya, and Kerri


* → fun fact

@ = look into this

% = facts we learned

11/16 Monday: Prepare mentallly for a transformative week: 

  1. Arrive at Hacienda de Corona

We are greeted by Jeff and 8 yo daughter Reina, who were kindly waiting to lead the way in their open-air black Jeep. At the main house, Nisa (co-owner of the 100 year old Ranch we are staying at) showed us the uniquely themed rooms. *Lily, Sophie, and Freya are staying in the room where John Wayne stayed!

  1. Watch film Undeterred: a history of the border patrol violence in the small border town Arivaca where residents turned into activists as they protested the checkpoint in their town. *We ate freshly popped popcorn during the film.

  2. Cook a delicious baked ziti (Lily + Leila)

11/17 Tuesday: Seeing the Wall

  1. Talk with Todd Miller

Journalist and author, who started off researching the U.S. – Mexico border and is now expanding to international borders.

@ (books he wrote) Border Patrol Nation; Storming The Wall; Empire of Borders

% 1924 Border Patrol was started with 200-300 agents

% 2012 Border Patrol expanded to 21,000 agents

% 2020 BP has a $25 billion per year budget

  1. Ask lot’s of questions about the border patrol and militarization

  • Go to the most militarized section of the border and listen to Balti speak (inspirational educator who grew up on the border, and witnessed the transformation of the wall from a barbed wire fence to a 25 foot steel wall).

  • Mari was extremely surprised and saddened by the fact that Mexican people are targeted 26 more times than white people by border patrol. An average of 200 people die annually trying to cross the border in Arizona.

  • Elsie was shocked by how systematic and inhumane the border patrol’s jurisdiction has become and the hypocrisy of our country’s treatment towards those who we deem as “other”.

% $70,000 is the starting salary for a border patrol agent

@@@ Justice for José Antonio Elena Rodriguez

@ Mexicayotl School

  1. Listen to Shelley and Johnathan (our leaders of this week, who are both professors and consider themselves scholar activists) give a presentation to help wrap up the information we had learned throughout the day. Leila thought it was really interesting to learn about how accessible Mexico was for past generations, and how much social and cultural exchange is now cut off because of the border wall.

  2. Eat a dessert of triple layered brownies made by Mari which was a perfect end to our day.

  3. Send out a gratitude for our family and friends

    1. Eli was grateful for all of the dogs in his life.

    2. Jacob was grateful for his dad

11/18 Wednesday: Starting our Action Plan

  1. Start the day with amazing breakfast tacos made by Leila and Sophie, which gave us the fuel we needed for our packed day of learning.

  2. Have a discussion with Shelley and Jonathan about the injustices we have observed over our time in Arizona, and see how many of them are connected.

    1. Water distribution

    2. Border militarization

    3. Mining

    4. Animal rights

    5. Hunger

    6. Mass incarceration

    7. Indigenous injustice

    8. Racial profiling

    9. Land rights

    10. Criminalization of humanitarian aid

  3. Journal about our passions and what we wanted to focus on for our goal setting.

  4. Talk with Shelley and Johnathan about the traits an activist has and the skills that they have to learn as well.

    1. Observant

    2. Diplomacy

    3. Event management

    4. Researching

    5. Motivating/engaging

  5. Start writing our SMART goals for each of our individual action plans, and workshop them with one another.

  6. Mari, Rachel, Sophie, and Jacob swim in the freezing pool to relax while others read for the afternoon.

  7. Listen in on a Zoom with Paco (retired border patrol agent now a writer) and Gary (writer) where they talk about living in the desert.

  8. Enjoy a dinner of fish tacos and finish up workshopping our SMART goals.

    1. Rachel commented how happy she is to be learning how to put the experiences that she’s had on this trip into action at home!

  9. Have an amazingly exciting chat about potential Spring plans

11/19 Thursday: Learn How to Be an Effective Public Speaker 

  1. Sleep in and eat a delicious French toast casserole made by Lily, Eli and Kerri

    1. Chef up some kale chips and hummus (Freya)

    2. Burn some garlic in attempts at roasting it (Leila)

  2. Watch super inspiring TedTalks

    1. @ Spencer West

    2. @ Dalton Sherman

    3. @ Chris Tse’s “Wake Up”

  3. Public Speaking corner stones

    1. Learn about the acronyms SPEV (speed, pause, emotion, volume) and GEEP (gestures, eye contact, expressions, posture) for effective presentations

  4. Be told that we are going to perform a 1-3 minute speech about our passion project.

  5. Take a leadership quiz and talk about different styles of leadership and how important it is to have several different types for a successful project.

  6. Do our daily ab workout.

  7. Eat yummy roasted veggies, homemade hummus, tzatziki and pita made by Eli + Freya.

  8. Eat a delicious dessert of zebra cake made by Petar.

11/20 Friday: Make our Speeches and Celebrate our Time with Shelley & Jonathan

  1. Start with an energy inducing warm up by making rain sounds with our hands.

  2. Use Skittles to decide who’s up first for their speech (it was Leila!)

  3. All give amazing speeches that blow Shelley and Jonathan away

  4. Chant “Together we can make a difference!”

  5. Celebrate our week of activism with a trip to the Nogales Farmer’s Market

    1. Practice our Spanish with the vendors

    2. Buy lots of fruit, tortillas, fresh cheese, tamales, and Mexican candy

  6. Thank Shelley + Jonathan and say goodbye.

  7. Have a delicious dinner of authentic quesadillas, tamales, rice and beans.

  8. Have a dance party in the kitchen.

  9. Play Predator vs. Prey on the beautiful patio


Group listening to author Todd Miller.
The border wall in Nogales.
Balty speaking with us at the the border wall.
U.S. Border Patrol logo.
Shelley and Jonathan lead a leadership workshop.
Eli and Mari doing a puzzle at the Hacienda.
Pancho talking to us through the border wall.
Santos telling the history of the Nogales Farmer’s Market.