Joanna Williams, Director of Education and Advocacy for the Kino Border Initiative visited St. Xavier today to talk to several classes about her work with immigrants at the Nogales, Arizona/Nogales, Sonora, Mexico border.
St. X students are routinely exposed to the good works of the Kino Border Initiative during an annual summer mission trip.
Ms. Williams explained the mission of the Kino Border Initiative as helping to make humane, just, workable migration between the U.S. and Mexico a reality. She detailed the main areas that KBI works to promote their goals:
- Dining - Providing food for those without. KBI served over 47,000 meals to immigrants in 2016. She told the students March and October tend to be the busiest months for the dining services.
- First Aid – KBI treated 3,700 immigrants last year. Many of the injured have bloodied, blistered feet from walking through the desert for days with and without shoes. She told the story of a woman who had walked for 15 days with very little food or water and arrived at their first aid station within an hour of dying. She was in such distress that her blood had already begun coagulating.
- Women’s Shelter – KBI sheltered 380 women and children last year who had nowhere else to go.
- Educational Programming – Mission trips like St. X’s help educate and humanize the plight of immigrants to everyone.
- Research and Advocacy – KBI works tirelessly to promote humane and just policies for immigration. This is of utmost importance because there is much corruption and bribery that happens within Mexico, often making immigrants crossings expensive and deadly.
She further humanized the plight of immigrants by passing out handwritten letters from immigrants, detailing their personal stories. The students formed small groups to read the letters written in English and Spanish. The Spanish language students were able to read those letters aloud to group members. Reading harrowing accounts of the journeys and hearing the sadness that accompanies leaving entire families behind for better wages and opportunities gave the recent stark news headlines actual names and faces for the students.
Ms. Williams closed her presentation with a question and answer session allowing the students to get an even better understanding of a complicated issue that will most likely dominate future news.
Our thanks go out to Ms. Williams, the Kino Border Initiative and Community Service Director, Matt Kemper, for arranging this opportunity for our students.