16th Migrant Trail Arrives in Tucson 16 Years of Bearing Witness to Migrant Deaths
Press Conference Sunday, June 2, 2018 11:30 AM Kennedy Park, Ramada #3 Tucson, Arizona
TUCSON, Ariz -- On Sunday, June 2nd, the sixteenth annual Migrant Trail Walk, a 75- mile trek from Sásabe, Sonora will arrive in Tucson, Arizona. The event will culminate in a press conference and a community gathering at Kennedy Park. Approximately 50 participants from across the United States, Mexico, and Canada have made the seven-day journey.
Since the 1990s, more than 7,000 men, women and children have lost their lives crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The ongoing human rights crisis of deaths along the border is the direct result of US policies that funnel vulnerable migrants into Arizona's deadly desert. Participants of the Migrant Trail not only bear witness to the tragedy of death, but also to the intentional dehumanization and militarization of border communities.
The remains of 126 people have been recovered in Southern Arizona since October, 2018. During fiscal year 2016-2017, 147 remains were recovered, according to the Office of the Medical Examiner for Pima County. In 2017, 412 migrant deaths were recorded along the entirety of the U.S.-Mexico Border.
Samantha Shipman, a high school teacher from Auburn, Alabama, a second-year walker returns to the walk, as she says, “to connect to the cause and draw attention to the tragic deaths that are a direct result of immigration policy. I teach immigrant students and work with their families, and every time I hear about a migrant death, I imagine their faces and think about how it could have been them.”
“This walk gives us an opportunity to humanize and honor the lives of those who have died in the desert in pursuit of something that is out of their grasps in their home countries” said Shipman.
Jacqueline Arellano, comes to the walk from San Diego, where she is the Water Drop Coordinator for Border Angels. “I walk this week in solidarity with my migrant brothers and sisters, who are so often dehumanized as policy, and utilized as talking points, statistics, and rhetoric” commented Arellano.
She noted, “I walk because I can, because I’m allowed to walk freely versus running for my life. And I walk in hopes to one day never have to take these symbolic measures again. In hopes that the murderous border comes down.”
A coalition of community group sponsors support the walk. A full list of this year’s sponsors is available on our website:www.azmigranttrail.com
The Migrant Trail Walk will begin the final 6.7 miles of their journey at 7:15 am at the BLM campsite on Ajo Way and San Joaquin Road. Participants will be welcomed home at Ramada #3 at Kennedy Park at 11:30am with speakers, music, food, and testimonies from participants and supporters. This event non-violent, family-friendly, and is free and open to the public. Participants and organizers of the Migrant Trail call on all people of conscience to stand in solidarity with our migrant sisters and brothers.