In this series, I have talked all about the Tucson Samaritans and Borderlinks, but there are so many more good people doing good work in the Tucson, Arizona area. A couple of nonprofits in the Tucson area are Mariposas Sin Fronteras and Flowers and Bullets.
The first describes itself as, “A local queer and transgender organization that supports LGBTQIJ+ people affected by the immigration detention system.” Founded six years ago, it works to end the detention of LGBTQIIA+ people by providing letters of support and other legal resources to be used in immigration court. In its six years, Mariposas Sin Fronteras has “provided $150,0000 in bail bonds to free 27 people from detention. In the last two years, they have released 13 people by paying $90,500.”
The second nonprofit is Flowers and Bullets, a group of organizers “creating outlets for underserved youth and communities in which we highlight the life we live and the places that [they] come from.” The members share their skills and promote place-based connection in the barrio, predominantly Spanish-speaking segments of town with high poverty levels. Its work addresses some of the trauma in its community caused by “disproportionate minority incarceration, drug addiction, physical and mental violence, food insecurity, health issues and economic disparity.” It is teaching people in the community sustainable living practices as a way “to combat the economic, health and food struggles within our communities.”
I had talked to the founder of Flowers and Bullets and he talked to me about their community garden initiatives in his barrio. The group’s next project involved turning a closed down school in its community into an agricultural space, bringing more fresh food and opportunity into the community. “Flowers are the art and bullets are the struggle,” the organization said.
Another great non-profit is the Colibri Center for Human Rights. Founded in 2013, the Colibri Center works with families, forensic scientists and humanitarians to end migrant deaths and other related sufferings on the border between U.S. and Mexico.
They work with the Pima County, Arizona Office of the Medical Examiner to unite unidentified remains of migrants with family members. More than 7,216 people have lost their lives crossing the border between the U.S. and Mexico, and 2,500 people are still missing. Their families have been left with the agonizing uncertainty of not knowing if their loved ones are dead or alive. The Colibri Center helps put families at ease. When I was planting crosses on the locations of deceased migrants with the Tucson Samaritans, three out of the four crosses were unidentified. In 2016, the Colibri Center received a grant of $865,000 to collect DNA from people in America and South America looking for family members and “to build profiles of missing migrants.”
If you believe in supporting people doing the work that needs to be done, check out these non-profits on their websites and their Facebook pages. If you have any inclination to help, put your money where your mouth is and donate to these worthy non-profits. There are so many people affected by the United States’ policies at the border and these are just a few of the amazing non-profits working on the human rights crisis on the border
Emily Rodden is a second-year student majoring in anthropology. ✉ ER861398@wcupa.edu.