I have been back in Indianapolis for just a few days and I already miss Texas so much. As exhausted as I was by the end of our trip, looking back through all of the photos we took, the media coverage, and reflecting back on my personal experiences, I really do miss it all.
I know for a fact that my experience volunteering in Texas has changed my perspective on and bettered my understanding of the migrant crisis occurring at the border. It had been described to me to some degree before heading down there, but listening to all of the people who are involved with this crisis every day and hearing their stories has taught me so much more. I didn’t fully realize how much I had actually learned until I had an uncomfortable conversation with a friend of a friend just the other day…
Though I typically try to avoid bringing up politics in conversation with acquaintances, I had mentioned that I had just gotten back from Texas, and this person asked me what I was doing there. So I explained it to him. I told him that we were exhuming migrant remains so that they can hopefully be identified and sent back to their families. His reply? “Who cares?”
At first I didn’t even know what to say. I asked for clarification, and his response caught me off guard. I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but my experiences in Texas allow me to better articulate mine. I explained the details of the crisis and shared what I had learned during my stay in Texas. I know that many people up north here in Indiana likely do not have a complete understanding of the migrant situation (I know I didn’t prior to traveling to Texas) and I am happy that I am now better able to explain it. I also understand, however, that my words may not change how they feel.
Another thing I learned in Texas is the importance of considering a person’s background and life experiences when attempting to understand their point of view. But this argument really further solidified my pride in the work that is being done by everyone in South Texas and further highlighted the need for people across the country to be educated about the border crisis. It also made me extremely eager to stay involved with this work in any way that I can.
Thank you to everyone who was involved in providing me this opportunity to help, to everyone who helped us while we were down there, and to everyone who is continuing to work on this crisis situation everyday.