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A Mile in Another’s Shoes on the U.S.-Mexico Border: “Being There” as a Form of Solidarity – Rachel Stonecipher

May 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Rachel Stonecipher
SMU

As I walk through the Sonoran desert, my eyes move ahead to the next obstacle: another cluster of spiny branches eclipsing the way forward. The path ahead looks impassable, but I assume the people who left their discarded belongings strewn along the wash’s rocky bottom have pressed on. Maybe there are migrants here at this moment, too frightened to answer our calls in timidly pronounced Spanish: “Hola, somos amigos! Tenemos agua, comida, y ayuda médica! No tengan miedo![1] We’ve been walking for two hours, hacking through less forgiving plants and climbing up and down steep rock formations, to keep moving. Two hours into a four-hour loop, there’s no sense in turning around.

I am beginning to understand how people can die wandering around in circles. More than once, I panic that I am not holding our shared GPS device. When I am leading, I walk as briskly as I can following the dry, rocky creek beds, the only “paths” we can see, checking the GPS every few seconds. With cell phone signals out of the question, I imagine the fear of standing here with no compass but the sun.

Memorial in Arivaca, Arizona, to migrants who died crossing into the U.S. The memorial displays discarded items found in the desert by No More Deaths volunteers.
(Photo: Rachel Stonecipher)

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Conceptions of Reciprocity: The Navarro Transplant Case, Organ Allocation and Undocumented Immigrants – Emily Avera

May 14, 2012 1 comment

Emily Avera
TransplantInformers

Organ donors give the gift of life, but the sheer volume of patients hoping for transplants far outstrips donor generosity. How should we make decisions to ensure the equitable distribution of a limited supply of organs? In a system that depends on the goodwill of donors and public trust, this question becomes further complicated when undocumented immigrants seek transplants – especially in the United States, where undocumented immigrants consent to donate organs more often than they receive them. In light of this fact, should citizenship be a substantial consideration? Or should allocation decisions be made according to a claim of reciprocity – i.e., that individuals or groups who are willing to donate are more entitled to receive organs than others?

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AccessDenied post wins 2nd prize in competition for Excellence in Writing to Advance Social Justice

May 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Hearty congratulations to AccessDenied contributor Rachel Stonecipher, whose recent piece “Shattered by Security: The Impact of Secure Communities on Families” has been awarded second prize in the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center’s 2012 Student Prize Competition For Excellence in Writing to Advance Social Justice.

The prize, named for the renowned author of the monumental anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, “recognizes outstanding writing by U.S. high school and college students that motivates positive action for social justice.”

Stonecipher is a senior double-major in Anthropology and Film & Media Arts at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. After college she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in anthropology with a focus on medical anthropology, im/migration and health, the anthropology of experience, and public anthropology. She is currently engaged in the second phase of a two-year research project on the practice and experience of migrant advocacy work on the U.S.-Mexico border, supported by the Engaged Learning program at SMU.

“Shattered by Security” is Stonecipher’s second contribution to AccessDenied. An earlier co-authored piece, “Call It a Crisis: Confronting Public Health Risks on the U.S.-Mexico Border,” was published last August. Her third contribution, a reflection on her participant observation with the NGO No More Borders, which provides water and emergency medical assistance to migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, will be published shortly.

Congratulations, Rachel!

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