After holding an annual vigil for 25 years at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, the human rights group SOA Watch is moving its convergence to the US-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona, and Sonora, Mexico. Activists throughout the US and Mexico have gathered on both sides of the US-Mexico border for an October 7-10 Border Convergence to highlight and protest US state policies linked to the root causes of migration, as well as to multiple levels of violence against migrants and more broadly, against Black and Latinx people.
People from Latin America continue to be forced to flee from US-trained repressive security forces, only to be confronted with a militarized border, racist immigration laws and the xenophobic rhetoric we see escalating during this election cycle. Black and Brown bodies in the US continue to be targeted, criminalized and systematically imprisoned and killed in the same way. We can no longer separate these issues and this weekend we have gathered to say “enough!” We cannot look at immigration reform without looking at its root causes. We cannot discuss police brutality or the prison industrial complex in the US without discussing its root purpose. State violence is used to exert control and oppress Black and Latinx communities in order to maintain an exploitative racist system that benefits the few. SOA Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois has said:
We need to build broad-based grassroots power across borders, and push back against neoliberal politics of privatization of the commons, the militarization of our communities, and the upholding of profit interests over life, that permeate today’s political discourse. We will stand on the side of mutual aid and solidarity, and build power for a culture shift.
Traveling for that last two weeks through local communities in North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas on my way to the Border Convergence, I have been listening and learning from the…