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UA NMM Mock Wall

Note: Palestine-specific press release (see below for more US/Mexico border-specific press release).

***********FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***********

ARIZONA JEWISH STUDENTS ERECT LARGEST MOCK BORDER WALL IN U.S.
Barbed, Steel Barriers Divide 50,000-person Campus to Protest Harmful Effects of U.S. Policy in Israeli-Occupied Palestine and the U.S./Mexico Border

Media Contacts – AZ Jewish Voice for Peace
Brooke Lober: 415-624-4467 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Bryan James Gordon: 520-388-0884 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Gabriel Matthew Schivone: 520-302-6006 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Publicity Stills:
http://www.nomoredeaths.org/University-of-Arizona-NMD/publicity-stills-ua-nmm-mock-border-wall-on-ua-mall-march-21-30.html


TUCSON AZ (USA) – Students from the Arizona chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace at the University of Arizona (UA) collaborated with partners in the UA migrant rights group No Más Muertes/No More Deaths (NMM) to erect the largest mock border wall in the country currently dividing the UA campus in Tucson.  They aim to spotlight the lethal effects of U.S. militarization, immigration and border enforcement policies in Arizona, the U.S., and Israeli-occupied Palestine.


Equipped with barbed-wire and stretching nearly four football fields’ length, the mock wall, entitled “Wall to Wall - Concrete Connections/Conexiones Concretas,” will stand for more than a week across the main traffic center of the more-than-50,000-person University of Arizona campus. Endorsed by numerous academic departments, as well as student and community groups, the JVP and NMM worked for nearly 8 months to bring the project to fruition.


Packed into a 387-acre area of central Tucson, the University of Arizona schools and employs more than 50,000 students, faculty and staff, outnumbering the State of Arizona as the largest public employer in Southern Arizona – and therefore a proper target for mass disruption, the students say. “We won’t let daily life continue while people are dying and suffering from abominable policies being funded with U.S. tax dollars,” remarked JVP coordinator, Chicano-Jewish student and native Tucsonan, Gabriel Matthew Schivone: “We aim to disturb, to trouble our peers with the knowledge – and less than one tenth of a simulated experience – of our fellow neighbors and communities’ miserable conditions to which our privilege renders many of us to be immune, and renders the conditions themselves to be invisible. We hope to quicken the conscience of our community and shake them into action to end these abuses.”

The mock wall, in part, represents the harmful effects of Israel’s apartheid wall that punctuates and snakes throughout the Palestinian West Bank. An outgrowth of a 44-year military occupation, paid for by $3 billion in annual U.S. military aid, and built on occupied Palestinian territory, the wall was deemed illegal by the United Nations International Court of Justice in July 2004.  JVP co-coordinator and Anthropology and Linguistics graduate student, Bryan James Gordon, stated: “The U.S. and Israeli governments should realize that walls and guns do not stop peaceful, hardworking people from seeking a future, and they do not make national economies any stronger, fairer or more independent. They only cause violence, and trick one exploited class into fearing and attacking another exploited class instead of the elites that are exploiting them both."

The students say they are also alarmed by increasing anti-immigrant legislation and sentiment throughout Arizona and the country, and by ongoing repression of migrants, indigenous peoples and communities of color by U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) forces.  The students also point to more than 6000 human remains recovered from the U.S./Mexico desert borderlands since the early 1990’s, when the U.S. instituted harsh “deterrence” strategies targeting migrants crossing into the U.S.  The students’ statement of purpose reads, “By voluntarily giving up the unjust privileges that we enjoy -- and symbolically taking those privileges away from you, our fellow students, faculty, administration and staff -- we aim to create an unavoidable crisis on campus to expose the larger human catastrophe which our community, by and large, continually fails to see...”

In a joint JVP-NMM op-ed published today (March 23) in the Arizona Daily Wildcat, the official newspaper of the University of Arizona, both groups stated: “We will not stand idly by nor stay silent regarding the enormous suffering being inflicted either in our local deserts and cities, or 10,000 miles away in Israeli-occupied Palestine.…[Our wall] symbolized our collective will to end global apartheid and work toward a world that truly offers justice for all.”

Publicity Stills:

http://www.nomoredeaths.org/University-of-Arizona-NMD/publicity-stills-ua-nmm-mock-border-wall-on-ua-mall-march-21-30.html

Purpose Statement from the Organizers:

http://www.nomoredeaths.org/University-of-Arizona-NMD/manifesto-wall-to-wall-concrete-connections-conexiones-concretas.html


***********FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***********
ARIZONA STUDENTS ERECT LARGEST MOCK BORDER WALL IN U.S.
Barbed, Steel Barriers Divide 50,000-person Campus to Protest Harmful Effects of U.S. Foreign and Social Policy, from Arizona to Palestine


Media Contacts -- UA No M
ás Muertes/No More Deaths (NMM):
Gabriel Matthew Schivone: 520-302-6006 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Coordinator of Palestinian wall tour/perspective: 520-551-5905

Francisco Baires: 520-991-7151 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


TUCSON AZ (USA) -- Monday March 21 -- Students at the University of Arizona (UA) have erected the largest mock border wall in the country to spotlight the lethal effects of U.S. militarization, immigration and border enforcement policies in Arizona, the U.S., and Israeli-occupied Palestine.

Equipped with barbed-wire and stretching nearly four football fields’ length, the mock wall, entitled “Wall to Wall - Concrete Connections/Conexiones Concretas,” will stand for ten days across the main traffic center of the more-than-50,000-person University of Arizona campus. UA No Más Muertes/No More Deaths -- in collaboration with numerous constituent groups including Social Justice League, UA for Border Justice, JUNTOS, UNIDOS, Women’s Resource Center, Vagina Warriors, AZ Jewish Voice for Peace, Students for Justice in Palestine and others -- has worked for nearly 8 months to bring this project to fruition.

The students say they are alarmed by increasing anti-immigrant legislation and sentiment throughout Arizona and the country, and by ongoing repression of migrants, indigenous peoples and communities of color by U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) forces.  The students also point to more than 6000 human remains recovered from the U.S./Mexico desert borderlands since the early 1990’s, when the U.S. instituted harsh “deterrence” strategies targeting migrants crossing into the U.S.  The students’ statement of purpose reads, “By voluntarily giving up the unjust privileges that we enjoy -- and symbolically taking those privileges away from you, our fellow students, faculty, administration and staff -- we aim to create an unavoidable crisis on campus to expose the larger human catastrophe which our community, by and large, continually fails to see...”

The mock wall will also represent the harmful effects of Israel’s apartheid wall that punctuates the Palestinian West Bank. An outgrowth of a 44-year military occupation, paid for by $3 billion in annual U.S. military aid, and built on occupied Palestinian territory, the wall was deemed illegal by the United Nations International Court of Justice in July 2004. A Palestinian-American UA Engineering graduate student and coordinator of UA No Más Muertes’ Palestinian solidarity program, who wishes to remain anonymous, will lead guided tours of the mock wall’s Palestine portion (see contact details above to set up a tour). Born in Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, this student was raised and schooled in Palestine, before moving to Tucson with his family while still in high school.

Packed into a 387-acre area of central Tucson, the University of Arizona schools and employs more than 50,000 students, faculty and staff, outnumbering the State of Arizona as the largest public employer in Southern Arizona -- and therefore a proper target for mass disruption, the students say. “We won’t let daily life continue while people are dying and suffering from abominable policies being funded with U.S. tax dollars,” stated UA NMM coordinator, English major and native Tucsonan, Gabriel Matthew Schivone . “We aim to disturb, to trouble our peers with the knowledge – and less than one tenth of a simulated experience -- of our fellow neighbors and communities’ miserable conditions to which our privilege renders many of us to be immune, and renders the conditions themselves to be invisible. We hope to quicken the conscience of our community and shake them into action to end these abuses.”

Several of the organizers come from backgrounds that correspond with those victimized by U.S. policy in AZ, Palestine, and beyond. Schivone is a Chicano-Jewish American whose mother was born in Mexico, crossed as a child and was naturalized while in her twenties. History major and NMM co-coordinator Daniel Curiel, was born on the now-militarized borderline dividing Yuma, AZ, from San Luís Río Colorado, Sonora. He tells part of his story: “As a child and adolescent, I grew up witnessing the increasingly ravaging militarization of the border -- which to begin with, made the effort of just seeing my family and friends on the other side very difficult; I saw them less and less as the years went by.”

Elisa Meza, English major and organizer in UNIDOS, a youth and community coalition defending ethnic studies which has sponsored the mock wall, said: “Tú eres mi otro yo [You are my other self.]. In a world where many can equally fit, that would seem to be the most relevant for us to enjoy. Instead, we wade through a thick sentiment of banning our past. So, in reclaiming what the AZ government and its supporters are attempting to erase from our history, our culture, our memory [such as “HB 2281” that bans Ethnic Studies in the state], we have to work to create a new future -- from Arizona to Palestine, to everywhere.”

 
Unitarian Universalist Chalice No More Deaths is a ministry of the
Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson
Since Summer 2008