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Prospect Hill Academy SW Immigration & Social Change

June 13, 2022

Today is the first day in which 13 PHA junior students  set out to begin their service work with Global Works: Immigration Trip. We began our trip very early at 4:00 am at Boston Logan Airport. We then arrived in Phoenix, Arizona at 9:00 am where we met with our Two Global Works’ Trip Leaders, Heidi and Nia,  and one of Border Links Leaders, Josue. As it was all our first time traveling to Arizona we all experienced first hand the hot and exceptionally dry temperature everyone talks about. Though as native Bostonians who aren’t as used to the heat in Arizona it didn’t stop the day Global Works had planned out for us which we were all excited for. After meeting with our leaders in the airport and packing up the vans, we set out to see more of Arizona on our trip Tucson where we got to take pictures in Arizona’s vast desert landscape and mountains filled with many cacti at the Picacho Peak. After we headed to a restaurant where we indulged in tasty popular comfort foods at this cool place called Culinary Dropout. After we ate we played games together as a group!

After our meal, we headed to the hotel to check into our rooms and then have our orientation with our trip leaders to learn more them and the trip. After, we took a historic and food Tucson tour at 2 restaurants. At the first place, called El Charro, we tried the tamales and Mexican beef pizza. The second restaurant we went to was The Hub where we had the cheese Curdles and a pastrami sandwich with tater tots. Right after that we went to a ice cream place that is also called The Hub and the ice creams got so popular in the restaurant to the point where they had to make their own ice cream shop right across the  restaurant. We then went to the first train station in Tucson . Our tourist guide gave us historical information on the city of Tucson, regarding Native communities and the Wild West cowboys. After that we went back to the hotel to relax and enjoy the roof top pool! The views and the beautiful sunset was amazing!

Written by Djemica B-A and Rimna H.

June 14, 2022

After eating breakfast at Panera Bread, we all piled into the vans to go to a nearby church and start off with what I thought was a fairly simple activity. We were asked to fill in a paper with four boxes: One of the boxes asked us how the media portrays the border. The second box asked us how our community sees the border. The third box asked us how we saw the border. Then the last box asked us about different borders and boundaries in our communities. After about 10 minutes of thinking about these questions and writing down our answers, we shared our thoughts. I felt confident about what I had written… until we went to the next activity. After eating lunch (and mourning over the loss of the only available bathroom), we went to a conference room in a nearby art museum where there was a timeline of events set up. These events were focused on the oppression of Black people and people of color from 1492 all the way until today. Most of my answers to the questions we filled out in the first activity were about how the people at the border are seen from the perspective of me, my community, and the media. However, the timeline of events made me realize how surface level most of my responses were. I said that the people trying to immigrate through the U.S Mexico border were seen as bad people but the timeline showed that the people trying to immigrate through the border were seen as less than human. I said that the media sees the border wall as important or necessary to “keep the country safe” but the timeline showed that the media sees the border wall as an important tool used to make sure that the majority stays in power. The timeline had so many eye opening events that changed some of my perspectives and dive deeper into other perspectives I originally had. Based on the discussion we had after viewing the timeline, I could tell that it had a similar effect on my classmates as well. Many ideas and thoughts were shared as everyone engaged in the conversation. However, one of the biggest points that we all agreed on and that seemed very important to us is that we don’t learn enough about the history of Black and Brown people. After reflecting on the timeline, we listened to a presentation from a man named Eric. He works for a non-profit organization known as Sierra Club that focuses on the negative ecological impacts of the border wall being built. His presentation was important because we often only think about social and economic effects of many events and issues but it’s also important to consider other effects as well. Through his presentation, we were able to learn about how wildlife living by the border are harmed by the wall. After the presentation we did another reflection and were able to buy t-shirts that said “No More Wall” as well as stickers with similar sentiments. Then we went to a nearby restaurant to eat and then back to the hotel to wind down for the day. Today was a very interesting day of talking about different cultures and learning about the non profit organization(Sierra Club). Especially after a long day of learning about how different cultures have been operating and learning about the many difficulties of borders and how people and ecological environments are being affected by this. We will also continue to learn more about the border tomorrow as we go there ourselves tomorrow morning and experience it for the first time.

Written by Benjamen G. and Chineze E.

June 15, 2022

After breakfast at Dunkin’, we headed to our one hour trip to Nogales,AZ. There we met up with another group of students and we headed towards the Mexico border. Groups took turns taking pictures in front of the border. Our guide for Global Works, Josue, told us to take turns going near the border so we don’t alert the cameras and border control. We also saw the Jose Antonio memorial, which was in Mexico. Then we observed the wall and noticed the double layering of material. We also noticed that metal wires were used all around the border even on tunnels underground.

Afterwards, we headed towards a park to meet Manuel. Manuel gave us a lot of information about the struggles the border creates for immigrants and people living on both sides of the border. We asked
multiple questions and received multiple answers. Manuel’s stories made a lot of students emotional. Manuel shared struggles about the separation of families because of the border which reminded me of my father. He was also a person who immigrated from Guatemala to America, in search of a better life.

Towards the end of the day we headed to the church to learn more about visa acceptance and reflect about our day. Everyone shared their thoughts and said what they are thankful for about this trip.

By Valerie Lopez M. and  Sukhjeet K.

June 16, 2022

So we started off waking up at 8am pacific standard time. For breakfast we got Panera Bread. We played spoons in Panera Bread and that got really competitive. After breakfast we headed to San Xavier del Bac Mission Catholic church which is the oldest European building in the state. We sat on pews which are just seats where you would sit in a church. Then I got really excited when saw a human sized cactus! After a while we went to the gift shops around the church and I bought a hackey sack and a bar of soap that smells really good. To help us with the heat and our hunger we went to Eegees. We got this big bucket of shaved ice with strawberry, mango and piña colada flavors on top. Some people got curly fries with ranch, cheese and bacon on top. After lunch we headed to a University of Arizona college tour which our wonderful teacher Ms. Vera signed up us for.
Our guide, Liz, showed us around the campus. We got to see the athletics department, the main library, stadium, and much more. Although the tour was great it was sooo hot so we were all tired while walking around the campus. We were able to catch a lizard and take pictures with it before letting it go.

Afterwards we headed back to the Presbyterian church where we discussed being an ally and an accomplice to injustices. We learned that we should be accomplices to minoritized groups when given the opportunity. By doing this we can use any privilege we have to help minoritized groups when they are advocating/fighting for their rights.

After we debriefed our workshop we headed over to a local party. We learned that the purpose of the party was to sign people up to vote in order to make changes to the border. We then went to Selena’s restaurant which is an El Salvadorian restaurant where we ate pupusas. The night ended with a pool party and a game night. Tomorrow we will go to Casa Alitas where we will be volunteering and helping with migrant families and children.

Written by Jaden C. and Rachel O.

June 17, 2022

Today marks the last day of our trip in Tucson, Arizona. We’ve all enjoyed our stay here and though it’s really hot, we’re all sad to leave. But we are excited to tell our family and friends what we’ve learned and done.

In the morning, we went to Panera and ate breakfast. Then it was time for a workshop at Southside Presbyterian Church. At the church, we did a group activity about different keywords that we learned throughout the trip. An example of a word that we learned about was service learning, which combines direct service with reflection on the root causes and relevant issues and values that are related to the work that is being done. This activity lead to another activity where we talked about what we can do for long-term and short-term goals by trying to make an impact with what we learned through the trip. As a group, we discussed doing more in the community in the near future. We also said that further into the future we should try to set something up like a club to focus more on service work. This conversion led to a more in depth conversion about what we can do as a community to do better for ourselves and the people around us.

And to wrap up our last day at the church we did a group reflection led by our amazing trip leader called mind heart and hands. For this activity, each word represented a different topic. The mind part of the activity was something that we would retain with us. My mind was that I would hold on to what I actually saw at the border and how it was drastically different from what the media shows. The heart part of the activity was something that had an impact on you, My heart was about how leaving Massachusetts I saw how much of a bubble that I have been living in my whole life and it just shocked me to see how there could be a group of people so publicly hated and mistreated. We as a black community get a lot of hate but we have changed and made not a lot but still progress. And hands were something that I could do to make a change in my community back home. I wanted to do more community service to give back to people who don’t have a lot. And with that last activity, our last day at the church was conducted in a day of reflection.

In the afternoon, we went to In-n-Out Burger for lunch where most of us tried animal fries for the first time. Once we were satisfied, we went to a place called Casa Alitas. We met this man named Caleb where he talked to us about the purpose of Casa Alitas. Casa Alitas is a place where immigrants seek shelter after being placed in a detention center by border patrols. A lot of these immigrants stayed there for weeks and sometimes months. Then it was time for a mini tour around the building. He took us to the kitchen where they prepare lunches and store food, the wardrobe center where they kept all the clothing for the people that stayed there, and finally the recreational room where we saw a lot of children running and playing around. After the tour, we met another man named Daniel, one of the managers at Casa Alitas. He needed our help unloading boxes filled with deodorant out of a truck. We all worked collectively as a team to unload and place them inside the building. After that, some, including myself, played catch the ball and tag with this little, energetic, cute girl. After a few minutes of playing, it was, unfortunately, time to go. We said our goodbyes to the girl and hopped in the van. We had dinner at this excellent Mexican restaurant called Crossroads. The food there was really good. While we were eating, there was a woman who stepped onto a stage and told us that she has been going to Crossroads ever since she was a little girl. She sang a few songs in front of the mic and that’s when the fun really started. Students and teachers stood up and started dancing to the music. It was really nice seeing everyone have fun.

Written by Kiara A. and Josh R.