Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 22, 2011
by Brenna Goth
UA clubs are trying to raise awareness about border issues by disturbing students' daily routines.
The club No Más Muertes/No More Deaths erected a barbed-wire fence running nearly 1,000 feet along the south side of the UA Mall on Monday. The project, titled "Wall to Wall — Concrete Connections/Conexiones Concretas," will remain in place until March 31.
The wall represents the border between the United States and Mexico as well as the wall between Israel and Palestine on the Palestinian West Bank, according to Gabriel Schivone, coordinator of No Más Muertes/No More Deaths and former Daily Wildcat columnist. The focus is on these two areas because they are funded by the United States, he said.
The wall is decorated with informational posters, signs with phrases such as "One World Unbordered," and items including backpacks and gloves. Some students may be inconvenienced by the wall when trying to cross the Mall and walk to class.
"(We are) wanting to create a crisis on campus to force the community to confront the issues that are so easily ignored and create a space to discuss these issues," said Schivone, a UA student studying English.
No Más Muertes/No More Deaths raised money through grants, departmental donations and private donations to pay for the project. Campus organizations including the Women's Resource Center, Students for Justice in Palestine and the Social Justice League also sponsored sections of the wall.
"(The funds) actually came from our poor pockets," said Daniel Curiel, vice president of No Más Muertes/No More Deaths. "It's something we're passionate about and think it's an educational thing."
Planning for the wall began about eight months ago, according to Schivone. The idea came from the 300-foot wall erected by Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs a few years ago, he said.
Schivone said No Más Muertes/No More Deaths created the mock border with the idea that these walls dehumanize people and separate communities.
"We don't have to (represent both sides of the issue) and we didn't," Schivone said. "All of the allies are opposing the wall in general and barriers of all sorts."
Schivone said he thinks awareness of border issues is low on the UA campus.
"Nonetheless, I think people would care and are compassionate," he said. "If presented with this information, I think they would act."
The disruption created by the wall will help inform students, said Curiel, a junior studying history and political science.
"It's right smack-dab in the middle," he said. "Some people will be upset and bothered by it because they have to walk around. But (the border is) a reality people live with."
Avoiding the wall when walking to class will be irritating after 10 days, said Kaitlin Morris, a pre-physiology freshman.
"I have to walk around," she said. "I always cut through the grass. I'm lazy."
Morris said she read the posters after seeing the wall and thinks it is important to raise issues surrounding the border.
"People can say whatever they want," she said. "They always have stuff out here (on the Mall)."
Biosystems engineering junior Maria Guzman said she has visited the border between the United States and Mexico and thinks students already know about the issues.
"Everybody's aware in Arizona," Guzman said. "We're close to the border. If you're not aware, you're living under a rock."
The wall will continue to be decorated with items and information throughout the next 10 days. Schivone said he hopes students' frustration will cause them to take notice.
"It may be irritating, inconvenient and disruptive to daily life, but that's what walls do," he said.