ARIZONA/MEXICO: CPT kicks off beginning of Sonoran desert project with walks/rallies in Tuscon, Agua Prieta and Nogales
June 3, 2004
ARIZONA/MEXICO: CPT kicks off beginning of Sonoran desert project with
walks/rallies in Tuscon, Agua Prieta and Nogales
Beginning on Friday, May 28, 2004, Christian Peacemaker Teams participated
in a weekend of events in the borderlands of Arizona and Mexico, sponsored
by the organization, No More Deaths. CPT has joined the summer movement,
No More Deaths in an effort to reduce the number of deaths of migrants
passing through the Sonoran desert. A new militarized border is forcing
migrants to travel through some of the most dangerous parts of the desert,
leading to severe dehydration, snakebites, and many other ailments.
According to some estimates, more than 200 migrants died in Arizona last
summer while making the trip north.
The activities began on Friday with a walk through Tucson. Tucson is home
to a wide coalition of churches that are supporting this effort. After
marching through Tuscon, No More Deaths sponsored a rally and educational
event at a local hotel with music, dancing and speeches by religious leaders
and a congressional representative from Tucson.
On Saturday the team traveled with No more Deaths to Agua Prieta along the
US/ Mexico border. Agua Prieta and its neighbor, Douglass, to the north is
the location where CPT will eventually have its full-time presence. This
area is heavily militarized and is particularly dangerous for migrants to
cross, because the terrain is difficult and vigilantes patrol the border in
search of migrants.
In Agua Prieta, Mexican organizations sponsored another event in which
CPTers participated. CPT delegate Suzanna Collard said, "The bi-nationalism
of the movement is exciting; both sides of the border are working together
to serve the migrants. These groups need to work together in this dangerous
climate." After the speaking ended, the participants placed over 100
crosses along with a banner proclaiming "No More Deaths" on a fence
dividing the two countries. The names of those who had died were called
out, and the group responded "Presente!"
On Sunday CPT , traveled to the border town of Nogales and marched from one
mile north of the border to about one mile south of the border. The group
from the US met a large group on the Mexican side at the border crossing.
The united group placed over three hundred crosses on the wall separating
the two countries.
On Monday, area pastors and other volunteers dedicated the first Ark of the
Covenenant in the desert near Arivaca. The Arks are placed in strategic
sites to offer immediate medical relief to passing immigrants. Ark
volunteers will provide water and emergency medical aid to travelers. In
the sweltering heat, area pastors read prayers and dedicated the Ark with
water. The Ark will be staffed by volunteers twenty-four hours a day
throughout the summer. Temperatures in the desert are expected to reach 115
degrees Fahrenheit this summer.
Openings are still available in the summer CPT delegations to the
borderlands. People interested in applying should contact CPT: PO Box 6508,
Chicago, IL 60680; phone 773-277-0253; fax 773-277-0291; e-mail Claire Evans
guest.758027@MennoLink.org, or see CPT's website at: