All posts by fanns

Who Rests

Although I have returned from Texas to rest at my home in Indiana, I have realize I still have a lot of thinking to do about all I had participated in during my time in South Texas. I recount all the forces who continue to work to prevent migrant deaths on and around the border as well as the those who will help bring closure to families

Looking out a plane window.

I think about the UIndy and Texas State teams who are still finishing up their work tonight at Sacred Heart cemetery and who must still take notes, organize photos, and finish their maps. All of these wonderful volunteers have spent so much time, effort, and money in order to have the chance to donate their skills to locate and recover the remains of those who have gone nameless for so long. No DNA work could be done without the teams on the ground at Sacred Heart.

I consider all of the people hard at work collecting DNA from the deceased and those encouraging families to give reference samples to databases. These people give an identity to those who have lost theirs through space and time. Those who encourage families to provide reference samples give the families hope that one day they will be able to know what became of their loved ones during their perilous journeys across the border.

I  reflect upon the tireless work that must be done at the South Texas Human Rights Center and those who donate their time and resources to keep it running. The Center is not just about water stations which provide clean water to those trying to find their way in the hot Texas brush. It is the embodiment of dedication to providing educational outreach to local communities about the rights of migrants, the complex network of organizations dedicated to bringing humanity to migrants at the Texas/Mexico Border.

Finally, I remember all of the migrants who died while making the journey to the United States. I remember those buried at Sacred Heart who died nameless. I remember those still making their journeys now and those planning to do so. I remember those who work for years to have a chance to make it to Texas only to be mistreated and suffering as they trek though harsh conditions.

Sunset over Texas landscape.

I remember all of those who will not rest until migrants are given humanity in life and dignity in death. I remember the migrants who cannot rest as they journey to and within Texas.


Looking Ahead

With the school semester at an end and winter break upon us, I realize that there is still much I need to do in order to prepare for my first season working with the South Texas Human Rights Center and the UIndy forensics team.  Between purchasing supplies, packing my bags, and brushing up on my Spanish language skills, I have found myself entirely occupied by what lies ahead in Falfurrias. I am an anthropology student and will be working as a participant observer in order to study the work being done concerning migrant death and identification in Falfurrias, TX.  Further, my work will include assisting the forensic team with the identification process in any way I am capable and qualified to.

This trip will consist of a lot of firsts for me. It will be my first time visiting Texas and the American South in general as well as my first time travelling via airplane.  Most importantly, this will be my first real experience completing ethnographic work where I will be immersed within the inner workings of such a complex humanitarian crisis.  Unsurprisingly, the newness of such an experience is both scary and incredibly exciting.

It is always impossible to know exactly what one will be doing on any given day, but this will be especially true during the eight days I will be working in Texas.  This makes it difficult to truly mentally prepare for the tasks ahead, but this also makes me even more excited to get started.  With so many people and organizations working to assist migrants and their families in this time of crisis, I cannot even begin to fully understand what all work goes into these efforts.

I was instantly intrigued when I first heard about the University of Indianapolis’ involvement in migrant identification.  My hope for this trips is to absorb as much information about the work being completed in the area as possible.  I am excited to discover the culture and meet the people of Falfurrias, and I am so incredibly thankful to have been given the opportunity to be able to witness it for my own.