I’ll never forget it. It was my first semester at California State University, Fullerton and I had recently transferred from Santa Ana College. My experience there had sparked a love and passion for my community. The first time I heard about the water drops was during a Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan (M.E.Ch.A.) de CSUF meeting. Leaders from the Border Angels LA/OC chapter came in to speak and present to us. I saw the amazing programs they hosted locally, including the Day Laborer Outreach. When they spoke about the water drops, a program that provided humanitarian aid along the U.S. Mexico border (Kumeyaay land), I knew this was something that I’ve been meaning to do. The program helped leave supplies like water gallons, canned food, and different kinds of clothing depending on the season, for migrants crossing the border. I had done some community service locally before but I knew that this was different.
After my first semester at CSUF, I wanted to attend the next water drop. I drove from Anaheim to San Diego the night before the drop because I was too excited to go and didn’t want to run the risk of oversleeping and potentially miss out on the event. I ended up arriving at the meet up spot the night before and slept in my car. My excitement and adrenaline makes it hard for me to sleep the night before the drops.
The mission and purpose of the program is so meaningful to me. When I’m out there, I feel like I’m making a huge difference to support my community. Since I frequently volunteer, I’ve had the opportunity to see many other amazing organizations doing great work as well including search and rescue missions.
Eventually, the program I volunteered with originally moved from Border Angels to Border Kindness. Border Kindness is a Non Profit organization based in Mexicali, Mexico. It was founded in the Fall of 2018 as a direct response to the caravans coming from various Central American countries in search of a better life. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the organization had to close the program to the public. Although the program closed, there was still a need for supplies. Migration has been a natural occurrence for hundreds and hundreds of years. The migration of people came way before colonization and the creation of the inhumane wall that not only is a huge cause of death along the borderlands, but also disrupts natural/sacred land. The work was placed upon long-time and experienced volunteers. We were dedicated to going out there every single Saturday to try and make up for the loss of volunteers. The work was taxing and took a toll on a lot of us but we knew we were in community for a greater cause. The important thing was to stay together during a time of uncertainty and continue the work so that human beings could hopefully find the gallons of water during their migration along the desert. As if the inhumane wall that leads and funnels migrants into mountains and other dangerous areas isn’t enough, migrants have to deal with the heat which reaches heights of over 100 degrees and freezing temperatures at night.
Many volunteers had to carry more supplies since the pandemic drastically cut the number of volunteers. Because the volunteer force was more experienced than before, groups were able to hike and trek deeper into Kumeyaay land leaving behind more supplies at a farther distance than before. Migration and death along Kumeyaay land has increased in recent years. Now more than ever, hurtful policies are impacting undocumented folx and migrants. As of right now our leads are expecting to see even more migration due to the fact that title 42 is coming to an end. Border officials have also made it harder and the militarization of the border that is continuing to happen is causing harm to so many people. Hate groups have always riled up and promote terror against people who are leaving their countries because of violence, wars, unstable living conditions, or U.S. intervention (destruction of lands & mining of natural resources for profit) that is reaching many places around the world.
Now more than ever help is needed along the U.S. Mexico border (Kumeyaay land). There are people stranded along various locations, living in shelters, and facing imminent danger. I am proud of the work that I am doing with Border Kindness and encourage others to get involved with the organization.