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Paul Hillman

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Education, Justice & The Border
At ASU’s West Campus, April 7-8, 2008

Arizona is at the center of debates over the impact of immigration and diversity on education. This year’s Border Justice Event at ASU West Campus provided a forum to discuss immigration and diversity in education from multiple perspectives.

http://www.west.asu.edu/publicaffairs/publicrelations/index.cfm?a=527
Border Justice Series focuses on education in April, features Alex Rivera
Two-day event is multi-faceted look at impact of immigration and diversity on education

Education, Justice, and the Border," the latest in Arizona State University’s popular annual Border Justice Series, will be presented over two days at the West campus, April 7-8. Complete information and schedule is available at west.asu.edu/borderjustice/2008/

Among the topics that will be explored through public art, theatre, film, music, and town hall-style discussions are affirmative action, Proposition 300, the DREAM Act, English-language Learning, and education about border justice. Admission to both days and all activities is free.

Public art, a theater performance, film showing, panel discussions and lecture events addressed the issue of border enforcement and its impact on civil rights and education in the United States.

At the center of the campus is an art installation coordinated by Marco Albarran, Director of Calaca Cultural Center. http://www.calaca.org/ The installation is formed with corrugated metal panels created during various community activities that occurred before the ASU West campus 2008 symposium.

These panels form a labyrinth that one walks leading to a desk in the center.

Today students with their professor were not only enjoying the day, but sitting in front of artworks that stimulated their discussion. Two of the critical inquiry questions heard were:

What is the answer to dealing with those persons who have not gone through the appropriate processes to become legal? Is it fair to those who have taken the necessary steps to be granted immigration rights?

Are we a country of true freedom if we treat illegal immigrants in the manner we are currently to correct what appears to be a major issue?


Artwork created by Cuervo Studios-Latino Art Project

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Point of Interest:

Marco Albarrán collaborates with many artists and arts organization in the greater Phoenix area. He is also on the board of ALAC: Advocates for Latin@ Arts & Culture Consortium, Inc.

Marco Albarrán: http://www.ArtsCARE.org/cac.exhibit.2006.artists.1.shtml#marco I was born in the border city of San Luis R.C. Sonora, but I trace my cultural and spiritual roots to the Mexican states of Guanajuato and Michoacán. By the late 1930s, my family immigrated to the state of Sonora, but maintained a strong connection to the traditions of Guanajuato. By the time I was a teenager, my family and I crossed the border and settled in Yuma, Arizona. There, I was influenced by the cholo life, and life as a farm laborer. During my travels to the fields of Arizona and California, I met Cesar Chavez. By the early 1980s, I entered Arizona State University and was introduced to other Chicano leaders as well as knowledge about the Chicano Movement, which greatly influenced me on works of community development.

I strongly believe in the promotion of diversity and community development. I believe in the implementation of arts and culture into community programs and projects. I also believe that all people can reach a sense of social and cultural balance through the arts. I really enjoy giving people positive messages, and educational experiences that create interaction and understanding. As an artist, my art reflect simple images, and ancient colors. As a child I was strongly influenced by traditional ways as I walked through the small calles "Guanajuato" in Mexico. There, the vivid colors, aromas and the diversity of every day life, prepared me for the life at "la frontera," the Mexican border, and gave me the energy for life on the other side of the border. My art reflects ancient indigenous beliefs and ways of life, and incorporates the power and expressions of spirituality. One major theme of my art is closely connected to the Dia de los Muertos, a tradition of many thousands of years in Mexico. My altar and ofrenda installations include found and natural materials prevalent in many of the Mexican traditional celebrations. As an artist, I strive for the opportunity to express my Mexican traditions and culture.
http://www.ArtsCARE.org/cac.event.26.shtml

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Are we a humane people if we do not recognize that these persons are simply trying to find a better life for themselves and their families?

How do we morally and legally deal with those children and young people who are caught in this country as undocumented immigrants who have been in our educational system for many years?

On Sunday April 27, 2008, Sheriff Joe’s reply to this question was recorded in an extensive interview in the Arizona Republic, Section V, p. 2:
"There is no prejudice. I’m going to enforce that law until they change the law. Now if they change the law that is great."
"I’m against amnesty, totally against it. I will always be against amnesty like I am always against legalizing drugs."
"It is a criminal violation regardless of what people say. You can get six months in prison because it’s a federal violation."
"It may be a big hardship on some families with kids. I’m not really concentrating on that."

From 5:00 PM -7:00 PM at ASU West Campus ongoing events on Tuesday, April 8th: Colores Actors-Writers Workshop presented selections from the Dream Act by James Garcia.

THE PLAY: Graduate student Victoria Nava came to the U.S. with her parents as a small child. She is undocumented, but dreams of practicing medicine in the United States (the only country she’s ever known). In the face of growing anti-immigrant sentiment she worries her dream may be slipping away.

A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT THIS PLAY:
The play was presented in English and in Spanish in individual performances each evening and during each matinee. There are plans to continue this production in the community during the following year.

WHEN: April 11- April 20 / Performance schedule: April 11 (American Dream Fund fund-raiser) 7:30 p.m. (English) and 9 p.m. (Spanish); April 12, 2 p.m. (English) and 3: 30 p.m. (Spanish), 7:30 p.m. (English) and 9 p.m. (Spanish); April 13, 2 p.m. (English) and 3:30 p.m. (Spanish); April 17, 7:30 p.m. (English) 9 p.m. (Spanish); April 18, 7:30 p.m. (English) 9 p.m.; April 19, 2 p.m. (English) and 3:30 p.m. (Spanish), 7:30 p.m. (English) and 9 p.m.(Spanish); April 20, 2 p.m. (English) and 3:30 p.m. (Spanish).

WHERE: Playhouse on the Park, 1850 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ, 85004, (Palm & Central)

INFO: Call 602-460-1374 or email jgarcia@americanlatino.net

Point of interest:
The Ojos de Dios (God’s eyes) originally came from the Huichol Indians of Jalisco, Mexico. An Ojo de Dios is made by the father of a child when she/he is born, and an additional one is made and attached to the original every year until the child turns five. The four points of the cross represent earth, air, fire and water, with the design of the eye representing healing and protection. The Ojos de Dios also symbolizes knowledge and understanding of what is not known representing a profound education exceeding boundaries, borders and obstacles.

To learn more about the wisdom of the Huicholes please go the lesson plan at http://www.ArtsCARE.org/huichol1.htm

The Huichol Web of Life: Creation and Prayer



These lesson plans were designed to accompany the Huichol Web Of Life: Creation and Prayer Exhibition at The Bead Museum, Glendale, Arizona, 2000-2002. The curriculum was conceptualized by judy butzine, co-founder and co-director of the Cultural Arts Coalition and written with Tlisza Jaurique; artist, philosopher and arts educator. The completed unit was reviewed and edited by Dr. Mary Stokrocki, Arizona State University Art Education and Research professor, and presented at the International Science and Education Conference in New Your City in October of 2002 by Mary and Judy. Elements of this presentation were incorporated into an article written by Seymour Simmons III, Ed.D. Re-envisioning spiritual traditions in art education.
http://www.ArtsCARE.org/cac4.shtml
Dr.Seymour Simmons Department of Art and Design
Winthrop University Rock Hill, SC 29733
Phone: (803) 323-2670
Fax: (803)323-2333
e-mail: simmonss@winthrop.edu

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Following the events at ASU West Campus and occurring about two weeks later at ASU Tempe Campus a spontaneous theater for social change production
Aliens In A Cage, April 23, 2008, was staged on the campus.

"ASU students protest anti-immigrant rhetoric" Performers at ASU protest treatment of 'aliens' http://www.azcentral.com/php-bin/clicktrack/email.php/7967661 Arizona Republic newspaper (April 23, 2008-B 2) features this news release.

There are many undocumented people at ASU who don’t come out about their status and they’re in a psychological cage. It’s a bad place to be. Arizona Republic news article

It was discussed that the cage symbolizes "not just the literal cage that illegal aliens might be put in", but emotional turmoil that an undocumented student deals with each day not knowing what will occur in their life moment to moment.

Yesterday’s editorial in the Arizona Republic, p. B 4, April 22, 2008 is titled "A Salute To Perseverance" The issue: Carl Hayden High’s Robotic Team.

The editorial begins with these sentences:
Our Dream. The American Dream. It is that over-the-top, don’t-hold-me-back belief that anything’s possible. What a country it built. The editorial goes on to discuss how the school won in the lowest-income neighborhood an award of excellence in learning and performance that was not expected of poor kids. The punch line is that the robot is named "Virginia’s Dream".

It was named after Virginia Gutierrez. Last year, she had a 4.2 GPA and a private scholarship to study nursing at ASU. Then, she got stopped for a traffic violation. She was deported, and her dream of becoming a nurse in Arizona evaporated. B4, Az. Rep. 4/22/08

In a time of much public out cry and political battle between public officials over the issue of immigration it is refreshing to instead connect with the personal stories of the individuals about issues that should matter: Civil Rights; racial profiling; strategic use of police resources and their deployment in the community; and youth who are pawns in this process where they have no control over their personal outcomes of merely wishing to seek and attain a good education.

The arts are a means to engage the viewers in dialogue in a safe place that allows for One on One conversation. In the midst of this performance discussion with audience members was occurring.

One young man was immediately offended by the color of the skin of the young woman in the turquoise blouse because she was the only Anglo in the group. She also appeared to be automatically moving through the performance with no human connection to the ensuing events. When a conversation was allowed as to the metaphor for this creative expression of ideas and the possibilities of a different means of responding to the individuals in the cage, the viewer understood that there is room for discussion that considers the nuances and intricacies of this very important state and national issue.

Arizona can be a leader in how it successfully approaches community dialogue if it’s elected officials choose to set aside political agendas and egos.
Let us all move beyond the reactive stage of this policy struggle and into the Reflective and Thoughtful stage of Conflict Resolve.

Student observer’s comments:
I was invited by a group of friends to the event at ASU.I was recording the event of Aliens in a Cage and it was very interesting and shocking to some people.
At the beginning people were making negative comments already. And the people weren't even in the cage yet!
We posted up next to the Marine recruiters and the human rights club (torture awareness group). It was like we were supposed to be there or something. Well I noticed a lot of college students of all cultures dialoging and discussing immigration issues such as prop 300.

The whole thing was amazing. The people that did this had so much passion and creativity. I was speechless watching it. Specially, when they got out of the cage and they removed the tape and they were crying out to people to wake up and help. To wake up and do something, to vote, to pray for their families, to care about humanity, and people's rights as humans.

At first there was a young Anglo looking man screaming out negative comments about the immigration issue but by the end of the performance/play he apologized and he had more understanding of our struggle in the community. He said he didn't agree with the play because he felt discriminated, and it was shocking to him. But he understood the struggle and this point of view as well. The best part was that there was a wake up call, and it was done in a way that expressed real passion and art. I think sometimes it takes drastic measures with art to get peoples attention and wake them up. It was awesome to see people that watched the whole thing, and it was inspiring as well. We need to rise up and speak up.

Written by
A concerned human being.....

This article was prepared by multiple participants from the Cultural Arts Coalition. http://www.ArtsCARE.org/cac.intro.shtml

Please contact: judy butzine - jhb6@mindspring.com or Melanie Ohm - modinha@cox.net to answer questions or to comment.