It is not some arbitrary reason or just laziness, I genuinely do not want to write about my experience thus far and I decided to just explain why.
Coming to Tucson was a way for me to learn more. I have mentioned this before in the previous blogs, and nearing the final two weeks of my time I truly believe I have learned a vast amount and gained experience essential in shaping what I will do in the future.
I do not feel like talking about it in a way so that others may read it and consider my experience as something new and life changing for me. That is not why I came, and that is not the way I want my experience here to be perceived. I am connected to the issues related to immigration that occur here and throughout this country. What I experienced here is not some brand new concept or reality. Some of the narratives of the people we have met are also like my own, could have been my own had the circumstances been different, or could be my family member’s narrative. I enjoy talking to migrants and other people here who are struggling to fight oppression because I strongly feel united to them in this cause, but it does not feel right to write it down and share it. It is intimate to them, and it is an intimate matter to me as well.
The peers that joined me this summer are also similar to me. We have a stake in the issue. Whatever laws or policies have passed or could pass affect us or our family directly, and our perspective is not that of someone who is finally realizing that the system is atrocious. We all knew that, what we did not understand exactly is the magnitude of the issue given the lack of information about the militarization of the border and criminalization of migration that exists.
I believe in the power of stories, and the stories of those that I met have been impactful, but I think their stories deserve better than to just be written in a blog from a student who is participating in a “summer experience”. There has to be more. I do not know exactly what I will make of my experience here, but I do know that my status and identity as a migrant will never cease to be, and I will always work to continue fighting for me and for others. I have been the subject of news articles, videos, and interviews and the sharing gets exhausting. It took me a while to realize that it was a draining experience to share time after time, but once I noticed it, I even began to see that the story I was relating came out almost automatic and rehearsed. At the moment, I am not sure I want to share much. I am familiar with how much passion and desire we tell our stories with, and the desire to captivate others to mobilize, but progressive change seems ever elusive and distant. I am aware that my decision to not share may just be a privilege, but I nonetheless have a right to keep my story to myself. I will always strive to uplift the stories of others in my future work, but I will also be critical of any asks that may be requesting just another performative piece by a marginalized individual.
It is discomforting to think that someone else without a stake in this issue would write and share about what is happening because I know exactly what we as Duke students go back. I myself am currently a beneficiary of the privilege to be attending a university and instead of being the one in the detention centers, or being the one crossing the desert I get to “see things from the other side”. That is my privilege, but I hope to also never cease fighting for those that have been denied an opportunity. But what happens when someone has no stake in the issue and can just go back to campus, to their other life, their alternate reality? It seems to me that they can just forget if they wish. Maybe that is my main point. I cannot just narrate this back in a blog entry because what happens here has been part of our life not just an experience.
I just wanted to make a reminder of that, and hope that a more optimistic outcome occurs with anyone who ever decides to help or join the fight without having a direct link to migration. That being said, even small change only occurs when people take responsibility to act rather than just be bystanders.
I do not feel like writing this blog post because I do not feel like performing. Although the words I have just written were probably performative as well, I can tolerate them because I know that I have spoken genuinely.