“This capitalist monster is slowly killing us.” “Because of this cooperative, we hope our children have a reason to stay.” “I lived in the United States for 23 years. I was deported 5 years ago and haven’t seen my wife or 4 kids since.” “The women are finding their voice.”
Almost two years after participating in Uprooted, the voices of the people we met continue to be with me. I remember grieving for separated families while also being humbled and inspired by generous hospitality. We saw mountains and rivers ravaged by mining; we witnessed lifegiving food and flowers communities had planted. We tangibly observed division and ‘us and them’ mentalities; we met so many brave people filled will compassion for all. It was a trip filled with despair and brokenness, hope and beauty.
Our tagline for Uprooted, finding roots in new places, can be interpreted in many ways. For me, it continues to be a reminder that migration is a part of all of our stories. This trip is about hearing people’s journeys, and connecting to our own.
In this new age of Trump rhetoric, I’m grateful for having my Uprooted experience as a frame for viewing these issues. As I hear talk of building a U.S/Mexico wall, I always think of the wall already at the border in many places, how it slows people down but doesn’t keep them out… no wall ever will. I’ve been introduced to the increased militarization of the U.S/Guatemala border, and have heard people’s stories of why they risked all to migrate. I hope these first-hand encounters enable me to engage in current discourse with greater compassion, context, and nuance.
I’ve been keeping these stories, images, and learnings in mind as we shape Uprooted 2018. This year, Uprooted will look a little bit different than the past as it will be focused on Southern Mexico. We are excited for this opportunity to delve more into the stories behind what you might hear on the news. As much as we can lay out an itinerary full of great learning opportunities, what really makes the trip is participant’s willingness to show up, connect, witness migrant’s stories, and reflect on their own story.
Come join the journey!