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As we wrapped up our final days in Tucson, I received thanks from my host mom, my ScholarshipsA-Z team, and a few other people that made my Tucson stay memorable. They thanked us for coming to Tucson to learn more about migration and my team thanked me for the project I completed. They deserved my thanks though – for welcoming me into their spaces, for sharing their stories, and for letting me take away more knowledge from them than I could give back.

I leave with memories of the laughs and smiles I shared with the Tucson community. They taught me to look for happiness in spite of injustice. My ScholarshipsA-Z team taught me that they weren’t supposed to experience happiness as in-state tuition was taken away and the fate of DACA and their futures were at stake. But they still laughed and never let their smiles disappear. It is this smile of hope that keeps the fight going. The hope that one day we will see beyond borders and treat immigrants with dignity.

My stay in Tucson was too short, and behind stay the amazing folx I met. The people that are experiencing the policies built from years of xenophobia in this country yet still amounting the energy to fight back against it. The burden of pushing back against unjust immigration policies should not fall on the directly impacted community alone. More accomplices are needed in this fight.

As I come back home, I realize that Tucson changed my way of thinking. It’s hard to answer what I liked about Tucson to my friends and family in words as it wasn’t the superficial things like nice weather and pretty views. No final blog could do my 8 weeks in Tucson justice. I do know that I’m taking with me this fight outside of Tucson.

My ScholarshipsA-Z team