All posts by lathamke

1285 miles from Home

Our travel day was a little longer than expected. But after two delayed flights and a long, wet drive south on Highway 281, the UIndy team made it to our destination in Falfurrias, TX. Please check back daily to learn more about our work and follow our progress.

HWY 281 South
HWY 281 South
Welcome to Falfurrias
Welcome to Falfurrias


Brooks Co

How can you make the world a better place in 2019?

I find myself reading this poem often, especially as we prepare for our next trip to the Texas Borderlands. The hypocrisy and the pain of this passage is what makes it so hauntingly beautiful and so full of truth. If it doesn’t directly impact us, we tend to change the channel, close the curtains or fold the newspaper.  We rationalize that they must have done something to bring this upon themselves and therefore they do not deserve what we have.

This is why the UIndy team goes back year after year. It’s not because the work would not get done without our small team of five. Our colleagues are more then capable of doing it. But because as educators it is our responsibility to not only provide our students with the skills to succeed but also the compassion, empathy and experiences to see that their education provides them with privilege and a platform for service to marginalized and underserved populations.

And now is when they need you to be brave.

Now is when we need you to go back and forget everything you know

And give up the things you’re chained to

I look forward to seeing our friends in the community of Falfurrias and our colleagues from Texas State University.  We will also visit Wilmer’s grave and make sure it is clean and has fresh flowers. I also look forward to working with this team of UIndy students who are all new to the process of exhumation at Sacred Heart. Thank you for taking the time to follow our journey.


If You Could

by Danny Bryck

I know, I know

If you could go back you would walk with Jesus

You would march with King

Maybe assassinate Hitler

At least hide Jews in your basement

It would all be clear to you

But people then, just like you, were baffled,

had bills to pay and children they didn’t understand

and they too were so desperate for normalcy they made anything normal

Even turning everything inside out

Even killing, and killing, and it’s easy

for turning the other cheek

to be looking the other way, for walking, to be talking, and they hid in their houses

and watched it on television, when they had television,

and wrung their hands, or didn’t, and your hands are just like theirs

Lined, permeable, small,

and you would follow Caesar, and quote McCarthy, and Hoover, and you would want

to make Germany great again

Because you are afraid, and your parents are sick,

and your job pays shit and where’s your dignity?

Just a little dignity and those kids sitting down in the highway,

and chaining themselves to buildings, what’s their fucking problem?

And that kid

That’s King. And this is Selma. And Berlin. And Jerusalem.

And now is when they need you to be brave.

Now is when we need you to go back and forget everything you know

and give up the things you’re chained to and make it look so easy in your

grandkids’ history books (they should still have them, kinehora)

Now is when it will all be clear to them.


The Year of the Widow/Widower Maker

On the first day we arrived at the South Texas Human Rights Center at the same time as Eddie and Deputy Don. Eddie unlocked the center and rearranged to get enough chairs at the table in the middle of the front room and then his phone rang. “I have to get this”, he said and walked to the back room. He was gone for just a few minutes. As he walked back into the front room he said “This is the year of the widow/widower maker. Every call is from a wife with her children in the US already or a husband with his children in the US already. They came first, are waiting on their spouse to arrive and lost contact.” He explained that this woman lost contact with her husband last week and his last known location was Brooks County. Eddie’s first step was to see if he had been detained and is being held somewhere. This man had not been apprehended so Eddie had to tell her that her husband is officially missing. “She is devastated”, he said. “I could tell she was devastated and it will just get worse as it sinks in. I told her she has to get more information before we can go search for him. We need to know more about his location.” Calls like these come in daily and are just part of Eddie’s many responsibilities as the Director of the South Texas Human Rights Center.

Eddie Canales building water stations in Brooks Co
Eddie Canales building water stations in Brooks County

We discovered a backpack partially buried in the sand while on one of our searches. Inside were several items that had been protected from the environment because there were wrapped in plastic bags: socks, a hat and a blanket. Brooks County Sheriffs Department Deputy Don White carefully laid the pair of new socks on a tree branch saying “These are really nice. I’m going to put them here so someone who needs them will see them.”  He repeated this for the other items in the bag. Deputy White volunteers to do this once a month with the Texas National guard. In addition to his duties as a Brooks County Deputy Sheriff (which is also volunteer as the county cannot pay for a large department) and his work in security and traffic that pays the bills, Don walks the brush in Brooks county looking for people in distress, human remains and personal items that might tell the story of where to find someone who is reported missing.

Deputy Don White taking a break to tell us about is experience in search and rescue
Deputy Don White taking a break to tell us about his experience in search and rescue

These two volunteer countless hours to finding people in distress, preventing deaths and saving lives. The Beyond Borders team extends its gratitude to them for educating us on these issues and allowing us to assist them in their efforts. We have learned so much in our short time there and experienced things that will change us forever. One of the easiest way you can contribute to this crisis is to educate yourself on the truth regarding what is happening at the US-Mexico border and bring awareness to this crisis.