SDSU Library Otay Mesa Detention Center Detainee Letter Collection:
the experiences of migrants/asylum-seekers in detention
Read more about the collection.
August 7, 2019
This past weekend, on August 3, 2019, a gunman inspired by white supremacist ideologies targeted the Latinx communities of El Paso. He killed 22 people and injured many more. Among the dead are a number of Mexican citizens, Mexican-US citizens, and US citizens ranging from the ages of 15 to 90. Once again, we are shaken and bereaved by another mass shooting. We are bewildered. We are righteously enraged. But we stand strong together. San Diego is a proud border city that we share with our sister city Tijuana. We share the world’s busiest border. We have a special solidarity with the cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. We are border people.
The Center for Latin American Studies and the CAL Interdisciplinary Human Rights Initiative at San Diego State University are unwavering in our support for our Latinx students, community members, staff, and faculty. We are resolute in our denouncement of the violent dogmas of white supremacy. We are steadfast in our call for sensible gun reform which we understand as a central pillar of comprehensive public health reform in this country. We are determined in our call for humane migration policies and protocols.
As a border university we are a binational, bilingual, pluri-racial, and pluri-cultural institution and are stronger and richer because of our relationships with our southern neighbors. We share the vision that the US-Mexico borderlands will become a place of refuge, humanity, and security to those fleeing violence in their home countries throughout the Americas, and not be a source of fear and cruel inhumanity. We share the prophetic vision that the El Paso Border Network for Human Rights articulated in 2013 report, The New Ellis Island: Visions from the Border for the Future of America:
We imagine a border that is no longer characterized by walls, migrant deaths, illegality, human and drug trafficking, and violence in all of its forms. We see a place of opportunity and encounter. We see a place of pilgrimage where – like Ellis Island – residents and visitors can remember their family histories of crossing over, living as “strangers,” and struggling for a foothold in their new country. We imagine a region which, 50 years from today, serves as a symbol of hope for border communities throughout the world. We picture a border that crosses but does not divide families and communities. We hope, pray, and vow to work for such a border.
San Diego State University’s Center for Latin American Studies and Human Rights Initiative stands with the communities of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, as we stand strong with our Latinx, transborder, pluriversal community in our fight for not only diversity, but equity with justice and peace for all.
Ramona L. Pérez, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Latin American Studies
Rebecca Bartel, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Religious Studies
Associate Director, Center for Latin American Studies
Grace Cheng, Ph.D.
Director, Interdisciplinary Human Rights Initiative
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By Antonio Márquez
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