Peace Works Travel Blog

Friday, January 19, 2018

Harvard- Westlake - Crossing Borders: A Digital Storytelling Program

Saturday, January 6, 2018

We began our educational adventure to the California- Mexico border with a full day preparation workshop. Students received a lecture exploring the history of the U.S. Mexico border relations, a video production workshop focusing on interviewing techniques, light, sound and equipment and a guest lecture about Chicano identity from cutting-edge poet Myriam Gurba. Together, our group identified our main areas of documentary interest — DACA / DREAMERS, deportations of U.S. veterans and mothers of U.S. citizens, NAFTA and globalization—on our journey across the California – Tijuana border. We also wrote a poem in the style of1952 author Alberto Rios, The Border, A Double Sonnet. Our poem was created from a democratic process, entitled: 2/3 of NAFTA: A Double Sonnet.
2/3 of NAFTA: A Double Sonnet
The United States begs for uniqueness and spits at the abnormal
The United States is pretty big, for a baseball stadium
The United States feels emotions but is a psychopath
The United States never wants to be the bad guy of any story
The United States is the land of opportunity, freedom, and the home of the brave
The United States am open sky of opportunities for those with planes
The United States is the drug addicted father of the 1970’s
The United States is a story told over and over until is does not make sense anymore
The United States is a trendy corporation that claims to donate cheap shoes
The United States is jumping out of an airplane with no parachute…feeling safe
The United States was David, who has since grown into Goliath
The United States is the carousal horse that mistakes progress for freedom
The United States is evolving to hold these truths self evident
The United States is not real(ly) that bad
Mexico is given the last slice of the cake at the birthday party
Mexico is hidden behind the curtain waiting to be a star
Mexico is my souther brother
Mexico is butter in a frying pan
Mexico stands in front of a broken mirror, once untouched
Mexico has an assigned seat at a party they were not invited to
Mexico is demonized and victimized, but never seen eye-to-eye
Mexico doesn’t listen to itself stir, and goes back to sleep
Mexico is more than its reputation to Americans
Mexico deserves more recognition
Mexico gave mt father the opportunity to change his life for the better
Mexico frightens the ignorant
Mexico is a black butterfly
Mexico is the last place where I saw my grandmother alive
Some photo highlights from the video production workshop

Saturday, January 13, 2018

We can all agree that family is important. Whether you’re an American citizen, a deported army veteran, or a gardener, family is the drive we have for what we do. Today in Tijuana we had the opportunity to meet the head of Friendship Park, about ten native plant beds on the border that hopes to be truly binational park and source of nourishment and reconnection, a few mothers, who with the help of Las Madres Deportadas En Accion, are getting the services they need to work and provide for themselves and their children, and about a dozen veterans from Unified U.S. Deported Veterans, who, even though they had lived in America for most of their lives, were deported due to post-war trauma. Family came up naturally in every conversation. One mother even said that the value of family, and sacrifice for the future generation is a stronger bond than culture itself. A deported vet started a new family in Tijuana after deportation, and his infant daughter’s name translates to female warrior.
The next time you see news segments on “illegal immigrants” or the deported in general, remember these people are, in fact people, and they have the same values of family as we do. They aren’t aliens at all.
-Anna Katz, 2020
To sign a petition to make Friendship Park a truly binational park, go to

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Family seems to be a truly recurring theme on our trip to Tijuana. Today we visited Friendship Park and Friendship Circle, the only place where separated family members are able to come together and see each other face to face. It is truly heartbreaking to see the sorrow and hardships all of these families go through, and to see that they are only able to have physical contact through a “pinky kiss” a touch with the tips of their fingertips. We also visited “La Casa del Emigrantes” a center that assists in aiding migrants through their varieties of situations. We met people from all different background there, including people from Honduras, Haiti, Guatemala, Colombia, and other Spanish speaking countries who have all attempted to cross the border in search of better opportunities to earn money and support their families. Throughout our trip, viewing those who were all united by the same purpose and cause were motivational and inspirational because of their perseverance and hope. I hope  that in the near future, conditions will improve for everyone affected by the border and that by sharing our projects and documentaries, we will be able to spread the word and encourage others to join the cause by donating, participating in activism, and even simply becoming educated on the cause.

Justin Park ’20

Monday, January 15, 2018

It’s been a crazy couple of days on the border.  Lots of emotional images and interviews to keep in mind as we move forward in our lives, physically more distant from the issues surrounding the border.
Images by: Cole Heine