Artists & Activists RISE at the El Paso Border
All photos by Paula Allen
This past Friday (5 July), Border Agricultural Workers Project, La Mujer Obrera, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas & One Billion Rising presented ARTISTIC UPRISING - EL PASO BORDER, beginning in the evening at the Border Agricultural Workers Project, and ending at night with activists, artists, and the audience marching together to the border, where they chanted and protested at the Santa Fe bridge.
"Last night we brought in the revolutionary winds in El Paso Texas through our singing, dancing, poetry, readings, testimonies, performance art, fire dancing and drumming. Over 30 artists arrived from all over the country and locally to the Border Agricultural Workers Project which generously hosted our Artistic Uprising. We rose up honoring and celebrating migrants to join forces and denounce the diabolical inhumanity being enacted at our borders and in detention centers. So proud of the extraordinary solidarity between La Mujer Obrera and Allianza Nacional De Campesinas and One Billion Rising which energized and created this event. This all happened in 8 days. Just imagine what’s coming! Artists have the power to tear down walls, push boundaries and dissolve borders. Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who turned out." – Eve Ensler
Organizers put out a call to artists and activists everywhere to stand up for freedom, dignity, and the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers clinging on to survive under the diabolical inhumanity of the Trump administration's immigration policies. Artists and activists from across the country and El Paso and Juarez brought their music, poetry, drums, words, passion, theatre, outrage, love, and brilliant calls to action - including writer Denise Chavez, playwright Eve Ensler, Alixa Garcia of Climbing PoeTree with Tonya Abernathy and Claudia Cuentas Oviedo, musician Amalia Mondragón, poet Rubi Orozco, journalist/organizer Rosa Clemente, playwright and Founder of The Trevor Project James Lecesne, Gabriel Mendez, Kelly Curry of CODEPINK, photojournalist Paula J. Allen, poet Anne Waldman, artist Sekou Luke, singer Morley, Border Agricultural Workers Project, Lorena Andrade of La Mujer Obrera, Mily Treviño-Sauceda of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, Susan Celia Swan of One Billion Rising, Jennifer Nagda of the Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights, Alicia Rascon of The Center Against Sexual & Family Violence, Diane Wilson, MAKS, poets Tongo, Michelle Mush Lee, Dominic Chacón, Gris Muñoz, Anne Talhami, and Anju Kasturiraj, readings by Veronica Frescas and Ela Banerjee, musicians Ceiba and Chris Davis, Aztec dance group Danza Omecoatl, and fire dancer Jacqueline Barragan.
This is what it looked like:
The event was covered widely on media and via social media. Lorena Andrade of La Mujer Obrera was among the artists quoted in Texas Public Radio piece, 'Never Again Is Now:' Artists Protest Conditions At The U.S.-Mexico Border' : "This is where this whole, horrible process begins. And we are here to be loud with our poems, with our songs, with our danza, with our drums. With everything that is in us, we are going to demand of these people that they let our people go." Eve Ensler drew attention in her opening remarks to the pivotal timing and necessary actions that must take place to combat systemic injustice; "This is the moment where artists from all across the country and many local artists, come together to be conscious, to be witnessed, to say 'we as artists, we tear down walls'…We cross boundaries, we cross over borders, and we stand in solidarity with immigrants."
The event centralized the voices of immigrants, refugees, and organizers working on the ground directly with impacted communities. Rosemary Rojas, president of the board of directors for the Border Agricultural Workers Project expressed that the event came together quickly in response to the urgency of the humanitarian crisis at hand, as as "children are being held in cages now. Mothers are without their babies. Families are without their children."
Read more about the event –
Here's how you can help:
Let's UNITE in our demand that these camps be closed, and that children be reunited with their parents – the most fundamental and basic human right.
As we RISE in El Paso, we RISE in solidarity with all refugees who face displacement due to political, social, and environmental injustice. There are 70 million displaced people in the world today, living away from their homes and often in unsafe and impossible living conditions.