Delegates’ Reflections, past border delegations into Mexico.
A trip to the border to hear the voices of maquiladora workers can be a life-transforming event. A reflection is simply “a thought, idea, or opinion formed or a remark made as a result of meditation.” (Webster’s Dictionary).
Women on the Border provided scholarships to two persons so that they could cross the border on a delegation produced by our allies in Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera in collaboration with the activists workers of Comité Fronterizo de Obreras (CFO). BELOW are reflective thank you notes from Cristina Gonzalez and Priscilla Luera:
Cristina Gonzalez (October Delegation, 2016):
My name is Cristina Gonzalez & I am one of the ten delegates who attended Austin Tan Cerca’s 62nd delegation to the Mexican border cities this past October. Attending this delegation definitely provided me with a new perspective on the differences in the way the U.S. & our local communities respond & operate around forms of trade.
I am deeply grateful for being able to meet all those women of the CFO who are achieving real changes in the workplace through their commitment to the dignified rights of Mexican workers. The CFO in Piedras Negras, the union group Los Mineros in Ciudad Acuña, & the maquiladora laborers that I had the opportunity to meet, are genuine inspirations to the work that I do as a coordinator at ATCF (www.atcf.org) and the work that I hope to achieve in my future careers.
After this visit to our friends, I am moved to take action by attending a discussion to negate the affects that the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal is supposedly providing for the wage worker in the partnering countries. This is one of many solidarity projects I plan on participating in as a result of ATCFs delegation and WOB’s financial support to help me and others make changes in their lives through such experiences.
Going on this delegation was truly something I believe everyone needs to attend whether they want to pursue business, governmental policies, or simply want to stand in solidarity with people who hold the dignity of human beings above profit. Again, I extend my deepest gratitude for your contribution to this cause & I hope that I will one day be able to pass on the power of sparking a change to others just as you have for me. I wish you well on all of your future endeavors.
Cristina Gonzalez (ATCF Volunteer)
PRISCILLA LUERA (October Delegation, 2016)
“We just got back from our 62nd delegation to Piedras Negras and Ciudad Acuña in Mexico! I would like to personally thank you for making this life-changing experience possible. It was an amazing trip where all of the delegates bonded with each other, and took immediate action by attending the Texas Tribune to put pressure on Congressman O’Rourke to vote “NO” on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement which will effect laborers worldwide. As for the delegation, the best way for me to express my feelings is through a poem I wrote on the way back to the U.S.
I’ve crossed American soil
The fine line that divides poverty between the land of opportunity
I’ll always remember my Mexican sisters across the border, but will I practice what they preach?
Or pretend I’m someone I’m not cut out to be?
Forget my identity and sell my culture
For more money, more power
Y todo para qué?
For white recognition and my goals met
Because when I cross the border all anyone sees is a nopal on my forehead
And when I’m in Mexico all they see is proud to be an American
Because they’ve oppressed my ancestors and this is why they fight
For their children to have a better life
Yet, I’m already living the American Dream and still don’t feel white
A Xicana girl living in a “i’m not good enough” world
Lost in my own identity with a foot in each door
But, this is why solidarity exists
To break down power structures
And stand together, in justice and peace
For a better world to exist
I am Mexican American
And no one can take this from me
Born into a cruel world, but we are all human beings
This is our commonality that lets us stand in solidarity.
I believe everyone should be able to personally experience a border delegation.
In Solidarity, Priscilla Luera
Delegates’ reflections from the Journey of an Immigrant Delegation (May 16-18, 2014)
Pamela Brouker’s Reflection following a delegation to Reynosa, Tamaulipas, March 12-14, 2010 across from McAllen, Texas. “My name is Pamela Marie Brouker. I enjoy poetry, nature, art, film and travel. Journaling, writing, drawing and taking pictures are personal life giving activities. Massachusetts is my home state, however, I find joy in all parts of the world. Perhaps because my ancestors traveled. I have visited, Greece, France, Italy, Palestine/Israel, Guatemala, the borders of Mexico and Canada, the states of CA, Hawaii, New York, Illinois, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, Colorado, Texas, Florida and states, in between, getting there. Travel is a human occupation and I’m glad to say everyone needs to engage in this line of work. I hope to be finished with my first film, “Mourning of the Eye” by September, 2010. It’s about life, after Ike. I am an ordained Lutheran minister and certified special education teacher. I was in Mexico, Reynosa, when the time changed. . . Read more.
Cynthia N. Edwards (J.D. NIU 2009) Reflection “Life at the Border” from the October 13-15, 2006 delegation to Reynosa, Tamaulipas. “In October 2006, I participated in a delegation to the U.S.-Mexico border. As part of the 12 person delegation, which was partly organized by a professor at Northern Illinois University’s College of Law I traveled to Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, a town on the U.S.-Mexico border that is next to McAllen, Texas. The group was comprised of the professor, three other students at my law school, and National Lawyers’ Guild lawyers and staff…” Read more.
Yvonne Lapp Cryns; Reflection Delegation to Piedras Negras in 2005 “Have you ever given any thought to who sews the pants and shirts you wear? Who makes your Nike shoes? Who put the electrical system together for your car? Five NIU College of Law students had the opportunity to travel to Mexico and meet some of the people who work in factories that make those consumer goods and learn about the effects of globalization on these people who live so close to our U.S. border…” Read more.
Judith “Hoodeet” Rosenberg’s Reflection following the delegation to Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Oct. 12-14, 2001. “Dear All, This is a personal report of the recent delegation to the border, which in many ways was a satisfying and successful trip because of the strength of the Austin delegates and because the CFO managed their part pretty much without Julia’s participation. Not that it isn’t always great to see Julia Quiñones, their coordinator, but they are acting on the principle of developing broad leadership and so for the first time Margarita Ramirez was our main host, in Piedras Negras and Acuña. In the latter city we saw quite a bit of Juan Tovar and met new people. It’s exciting to see the CFO act on their principles – they generally do – even it means encountering growing pains. One thing that motivates me to write now, however, is that this trip was depressing for me…” Read more.
Christina Murray’s Reflection Photographer & Delegation Leader, Fall 2006
“Dear friends and family, So I have been wanting to write for days now, but there is never enough time. As many of you know, but not all, I’m here on the Mexican side of the Texas/ Mexico border, in Piedras Negras, sister city to Eagle Pass. I’m here for just a month, not very long really, and already two weeks have passed. But the two weeks have been filled with so many new experiences, faces and stories, that if you saw me now, I’d be in a hand stand position, the blood rushing to my face, trying to sort out the curiosities, peculiarities and small wonders of this place while turned upside down, inside out. I sleep in a maquiladora, which, by definition, is a processing plant…” Read more.