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  • Writer's pictureVoices from the Border

Raising Awareness with Special Events and Creative Activism in 2023

Updated: Feb 6

As you may know, Voices from the Border has a two-fold mission. On the Mexican side of the border, we provide free temporary housing, medical care and meet other basic needs for migrants and asylum seekers waiting for entry into the US. On the US side of the border, we focus our efforts on creative activism, helping to change the narrative about migration through shared stories of our guests in Nogales, Sonora, providing accurate information through credible journalism and using the arts as a vehicle to build awareness and deepen understanding about the lived experience of migration. This year we also worked hard to build new alliances with other organizations and to expand the community of Voices from the Border by hosting events, friend-raisers and fundraisers. As the year draws to a close, we'd like to share some of these special events from 2023 with you.

In May, we proudly opened an exhibit at the Arizona History Museum in Tucson. Entitled Welcome Quilts: Migration, Art & Hope, this exhibit is the culmination of a project that began with Casa Alitas Welcome Center (Tucson) in 2018 when Art and Activities Director, Valarie James, began curating artwork of children of asylum seekers staying at Casa Alitas. This artwork became a trauma-informed traveling exhibit called Hope & Healing: The Art of Asylum that Voices brought to Patagonia, AZ in March of 2020. The art exhibit was the centerpiece of a ten-day, multifaceted event called Leaving Home: Migration Through the Eyes of Children where we paired the exhibit with a curriculum created by Early Childhood Educator, Gale Hall.

One hundred Patagonia students viewed the exhibit in tandem with the empathy and belonging-focused curriculum. One of the lessons was to draw or write welcome messages in response to the exhibit on fabric squares that Gale provided. The outcome became eight beautiful Welcome Quilts that Gale created during the Covid lockdown. The exhibit displays the quilts, and some of the original artwork of Hope & Healing, and shares the story of the Leaving Home event, where 100 local individuals, businesses, and organizations plus 100 school-age children came together to make this event possible. It is the story of what can happen when we open our minds and welcome the stranger into our hearts and communities. (More information about the exhibit will be forthcoming in our January newsletter.)

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