I spent four days in Tucson Arizona with a delegation of musicians. We met with several politicians such as US Congressman Raul Grijalva and former Phoenix mayor and AZ attorney general Terry Goddard, advocates, and organizers working to establish justice focusing on the areas of immigration, border policy, and ethnic studies.
The trip was overwhelming, especially the visit to Nogales, Arizona to see the new and improved border wall being erecting, cutting through a neighborhood where US and Mexican houses stand 50 feet apart on the sides of a dirt road. Every day there were deep history lessons about the border, the history of the struggle to establish ethnic studies, the millenia old patterns of migration through the Sonoran desert before borders ever existed, cultural reclamation and empowerment through Danza Mexica, and electoral politics in Arizona, just to name a few.
Like I said, there was a lot of information to process. It was a privilege to be there with Raul Pacheco (Ozomatli), Thao Nguyen, Joey Burns (Calexico), Erin McKeown, Stephen Brackett (Flobots), Invincible, Ceci Bastida, Tim McIlrath (Rise Against) and writer/cultural critic Jeff Chang.
Addendum (6/1/2011): Tucson is absolutely beautiful and magical despite the strip malls, golf courses, military bases and other mess. If you go (and you should) make sure your dollars go into the pockets of good people there who support social justice. There are plenty of them.
If you want to find out more about what’s going on in Arizona, check these links. Arizona could be coming to you real soon if you don’t pay attention.