"All people, all living things, are part of the earth life, and so are sacred. No one of us stands higher or lower than any other. Only justice can assure balance; only ecological balance can sustain freedom. Only in freedom can that fifth sacred thing we call spirit flourish in its full diversity." -Starhawk
On a chilly November night, we stare at the border wall, it glows as cars pass by. They call it a fence not a wall, the 2,000-mile border of steel and barbed wire that divides Mexico and the U.S. Those long rods, symmetrically placed, look like giant prison bars. We’re exploring the borderlands as part of a five-day field trip organized by Robert Neustandt, a professor at Northern Arizona University. Since 2010, he brings groups of students to the US/Mexico border to explore this hidden humanitarian crisis. I infiltrated myself last-minute as part of a documentary I was producing examining migration. I never thought it would change my life so drastically from my position of privilege to see migrants fleeing abject poverty, natural disasters and violence often to their deaths. In fact, according to the Tucson-based Colibri Center For Human Rights (2015), militarization and "prevention through deterrence” introduced in the mid-1990s, have resulted in funneling “migration paths into remote and treacherous areas of the desert, making any attempt to cross more deadly than ever before”. Since 1998, almost 7,000 men, women, and children have lost their lives while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, with at least 2,202 dying between 2001-2013 in Arizona. The number could be much higher if we count the endless number of people missing, and the hundreds of remains yet to be identified; the “John” or “Jane Doe” in morgues and cemeteries across Arizona. This short documentary was designed to trigger a change of consciousness in viewers. It includes interviews with border crossers, professors, border patrol agents, sanctuary recipients and second generation Americans.