Over the past year, we have heard a dominant narrative of our border that is harmful, inaccurate, and misleading. Instead, what we know from our partners who live in the border regions is that our border communities are vibrant. They are made up of growing families, thriving small businesses, exquisite wildlife, and generations of activists and change makers -- communities working together to tell a more accurate and life-affirming story about the land that they call home.
We hope that these photographs, collected and taken by our partners, tell a bigger, more accurate story about our borderlands, and that the talking points help to put forth a positive vision of the border region and what it means to our country.
Focus on the people, culture, and history of border communities and stress that those communities suffer when misguided and wasteful policies cause human rights abuses and disrupt communities.
Humanize the discussion. Consider terms like “border communities,” “border region,” and “borderlands.” The border is more than a line, and referring simply to “the border” reinforces the idea that we’re only talking about a wall and how to protect it.
Talk about how current border policies and spending result in violations of our values. We are a country that believes in community, fairness, and human rights. But misguided policies that allocate spending toward drones, walls, the separation of families, and detention facilities do not uphold these values.
Stress that Border Patrol must be held accountable. We need to redirect resources to better training and equipment like body-worn cameras that will help ensure the protection of human rights.
Stress that communities need to have a say in decisions that affect them. Underscore that any policy must be responsive to the expressed needs of border residents.
Sample language: “Border communities want safe, efficient, and effective border policies that respect the culture and community of the borderlands.”
Repeating myths isn’t helpful, even when attempting to discredit them. It’s important to pro-mote truthful stories about border communities instead of providing further publicity to false reports about terrorists, drug cartels, the need for a wall, and so on.
Tell a bigger story about the border region that focuses on the people, culture, and history of border communities, that portrays the region as a cultural and economic hub, home to millions who deserve a voice.