#LoveYourBorderlands, a Photo Essay


Insights from The Opportunity Agenda

Over the past couple years, we have heard a dominant narrative about our border that is harmful, inaccurate, and misleading. Yet 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. #LoveYourBorderlands

VALUE:

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.

 

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Photo by Lisa Eisenbrey (Instagram: @Leisenbrey)

 

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Photo by Hope Border Institute via Flickr.

 

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.

 

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Photo by Rebecca Maria Goldschmidt (Instagram: @bigbigbigthings)

 

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Photo by Lisa Eisenbrey (Instagram: @Leisenbrey)

 

PROBLEM:

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.

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.

 

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Photo by: Osvaldo Ruiz. A couple and their child talks to family on the other side of the border in San Diego.

 

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Photo by Hope Border Institute via Flickr.

 

SOLUTION:

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.”

 

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Photo by: Imelda Mejia. “Two nations, one community”

Photo by Dan Millis, Sierra Club.
Photo by Dan Millis. Local artists and community members paint a mural in Nogales, AZ.

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Photo by Pedro Ruiz. In January 2017, following Trump’s election, the Overpass Light Brigade joined border community members to send a message over southbound lanes to Tijuana.

ACTION:

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.

 

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Photo by Rebecca Maria Goldschmidt (Instagram: @bigbigbigthings)

 

Photo by Bill Hatcher (Instagram: @bhatcherphoto). A father plays catch with his two children.
 Photo by: Bill Hatcher. A man plays catch with his sons at their home near the border.

 

Photo by Bill Hatcher (Instagram: @bhatcherphoto). A girl of the Tohono O’odham Nation in Sells, Arizona, shows a photograph of local flora.
Photo by: Bill Hatcher. A girl of the Tohono O’odham Nation in Sells, Arizona, shows a photograph of local flora.

 

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Photo by Lisa Eisenbrey (Instagram: @Leisenbrey) of Hot springs at Big Bend National Park.

 

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Photo by Hope Border Institute via Flickr.

 

Photo Courtesy of Alliance San Diego. An indigenous woman speaks at a “March for Dignity and Respect” in San Diego
Photo Courtesy of Alliance San Diego. An Indigenous woman speaks at a “March for Dignity and Respect” in San Diego

 

Photo by Pedro Ruiz. In September 2017, at the announcement that Trump was ending DACA, hundreds of San Diegans rallied in Downtown San Diego expressing their outrage
Photo by Pedro Rios. In September 2017, at the announcement that Trump was ending DACA, hundreds of San Diegans rallied in Downtown San Diego expressing their outrage

 

Photo by Bill Hatcher (Instagram: @bhatcherphoto). mother and her daughter take a walk in their hometown near the border.
Photo by Bill Hatcher. A mother and her daughter take a walk in their hometown near the border.