After leaving my ‘spill’ behind, I find my way to the
hotel in Nogales where activists are gathering to march to the border. I
realized last night that I left home without my passport – how crazy was that?
I thought about bringing it, but not in conjunction with the action, but in
case I wanted to fly somewhere. Not wanting to be tempted – by my daughter or
anyone – to leave the country during my truth-spreading mission, I left it
home. Grrrrr which means I cannot cross the border and support or participate
in the actions happening on the Mexican side.
It is already over 80 degrees when I pull into the steamy
crowded hotel parking lot. I drive around to the side and secure that last
space that is probably only semi-legal, but where the sun will keep my solar in
fine shape and the truth will still be visible to passers-by.
I see many folks that I recognize, but none that I’m
‘friends’ with. Today, this morning, will begin with a march from the hotel to
the border wall right down from the border crossing. There will be a rally and
speakers again, but this time both sides of the border will be connected by
amplified sound. Then there will be a ‘nosh’ for jews and allies around noon,
and workshops from 1-7pm at the hotel. The day will end with another concert at
the border, both sides again.
Weaving thru the crowd, someone calls out my name. It is
a professor from Wisconsin who marched on the same 95 mile anti-police
brutality and anti-drone march from Madison to xxx airforce base last year.
About 7 or 8 students are gathered around in a semi-circle when I’m asked to
repeat the Salmon story.
So I do, ending up telling these eager, young,
white-appearing faces THIS (sweeping my arm to encompass what we’re doing this
weekend) is the only work that is important in their lifetime, no matter what
they are studying, THIS and ending violence of war, racism and misogyny, and
protecting the Mother Earth while we heal her – THIS is the ONLY thing they
should be doing.
Maybe one or two will believe me, drop out and become
By the time we begin to march, I’m sure the temperature
is pushing 100. Although I’m wearing the t-shirt I painted at the rest stop
while pumping that challenging veggie oil that says “DEATH to Racism” on the
front, and “ABOLISH Police, Prisons! DISARM ALL MEN” on the back, a friend has
pushed a sign into my empty hands: “NO to Trump’s racism! NO to Clinton’s war
machine!” in English and Spanish. It’s not until I’m stopped for several photo
opps later do I realize it is the Workers’ World Party presidential candidates’
We are instructed to stay on the sidewalk, to walk
two-by-two, which I of course complain about – there must be a thousand people
here, at least half or more at people of ‘faith’, who should be taking over the
streets. Grrrrr. But I haven’t been involved in the work to make this action
happen so I’ll begrudgingly stick at least close to the sidewalk.
There are no police on foot – probably way too hot for
them – but several in vehicles behind dark tinted windows sporting darker still
mirrored sunglasses. We chant and sing all the way to the crossing, where the
march splits: those crossing into Mexico continue on the left, those staying on
the ‘u.s.’ side, veer off to the right.
We march a few blocks further and get a close and
personal view of the wall. Although we’ve been told the police want a three
foot barrier – actually demand such from others hanging the threat of death or
at least arrest onto their commands – we stumble incredulously up to this unbelievable
20-some foot structure of iron and cement to gape thru the slats at our
compañeras on the other side.
It is surreal how the stripes of the wall transcend not
just the vertical barrier but are reflected on the surrounding ground, trees,
cars, houses – a constant slatted reminder we lucky privileged ones on the
right can skip thru the lines the whole length and back again. It is impossible
to see how far the ‘wall’ goes but its rigid harsh callous form malevolently
taunts anyone to try, try, try to find the end.
I have seen the wall on the border in California –
although not its ‘new’ extension out into the ocean – and when driving I10 from
New Mexico into Texas, I’ve seen from the raised height of my front seat the
twisting checkered mass snaking below the highway and have proclaimed its
unfathomable existence to many deniers, this is the first time I’ve been able
to touch the monstrosity, to peer thru and see life happening on the other
side, to hear and smell Mexican existence but not to dare reach out and touch
those humans on that side.
After a couple of rousing songs and even more inspiring
speeches, once again, individual names are being announced over the loud
speaker: this time, the humans who have been killed attempting to flee violence
in their homes – whether the violence of u.s. trained and armed soldiers, of
u.s. corporations, of the ensuing poverty and desperation laying ruins to their
lives and families – to be met with continued violence of u.s. trained and
armed border police, sheriffs, vigilantes willing to shoot and kill rather than
risk sharing a glass of water or a loaf of bread.
We hold our fists high and chant fiercely “presente”
after each name, for as the speaker says, these people are still with us, we
can feel their beings, and we will pummel this wall into dust as well. Hundreds
of names are read, but hundreds of thousands more are left unspoken, many many
too many unknown but dead. The speaker again says fuck a minute of silence,
ROAR for a minute for the bravery of these humans, for the courage of their
lives, for recognition of their tremendous struggle, to acknowledge their
presence on earth and still with us now.
I can’t stop weeping, spotting the unbending lines of
shadow and light, as I think about these human beings, the ones so easy to
forget about, to not know about, to turn away from, as most of us in the u.s.
go about our frantic pursuit of the amerikkkan nitemare, uncaring that our
nitemare is inflicting such hurt and destruction on so many. But worse,
unwilling to ‘give up’ our pursuit of the amerikkkan nitemare for the good of
those and all people including ourselves, for the love of the Mother Earth, for
the survival of the 7th generation.