A response to the refugee crisis on the US-Mexican border.
According to the Torah, God provided for the needs of those who journeyed through the wilderness. The lesson this teaches us in our current political moment is all too obvious: the provision of humanitarian aid is divine work. Those who stand up to systems of state violence are not criminals — they are following a sacred imperative at the very heart of the Exodus story.
This weekend, I’ll be joining 60 faith leaders from around the country in southern Arizona to witness and respond to the suffering on our border though “Faith Floods the Desert” — a collaboration between No More Deaths/No Más Muertes, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, and the Unitarian Universalist Association. Representing communities of many faiths and denominations, we’re going to stand in solidarity with humanitarian aid workers and local residents by walking into the desert and leaving gallons of water along heavily-frequented migrant trails.
No More Deaths/No Más Muertes — a humanitarian organization based in southern Arizona — has documented how border enforcement pushes migration routes into some of the most remote, dangerous areas in Arizona’s deserts. As violence and hardship grow in parts of Latin America — in direct response to US foreign policy — and as pathways to asylum and other relief are cut off, growing numbers of people are crossing the border to reunite with their families and seek safety.
In 2017, 57 sets of human remains were found in Arizona’s West Desert, including 32 on the Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge — a vast and remote stretch of land that shares 56 miles with the US-Mexico border. Yet this number represents only a fraction of the people who have disappeared and died in the region; some estimate that 10 times as many people died trying to cross these deserts.