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Border Truth and Justice Initiative

The needs of borderland communities differ from the needs of other communities across the globe. The ever-expanding militarization of immigration enforcement in the U.S., policies of family separation and exclusion, and adverse narratives about immigrants have stigmatized Latinx and other minorities and increased violence and hate crimes against them. These challenges exist and will remain until resources, tools, and models are developed specifically to assist border communities address structural racism and violence, provide victim solidarity for restorative and reparative justice, and heal from past collective and individual trauma.

The Border Truth & Justice Initiative will create a first-of-its-kind border truth commission that equips border communities to address legacies of racialized violence and develop concrete recommendations for memorialization, education, and community healing.


This initiative proposes the following solutions:

1. Building on current efforts in the El Paso-Juarez region, create a transborder truth commission model. Historically, truth commissions have provided an empowering “voice” for victims, fostered social integration, and helped establish reform agendas, although these efforts primarily occur in nations in political transition. We propose to innovate this model for local communities across borders.

2. Create a trans-border institution that studies, researches, analyzes, and humanizes data by listening to the voices of marginalized communities in our border region to create a shared understanding of racialized violence and inhumane treatment of people along the U.S.-Mexico border. Anticipating the commission will make recommendations for social change, we simultaneously will build an organizational capacity to fight for implementation of those recommendations.


3. Engage creative communities to develop sites of memorialization and community healing that transcend international and state borderlands.


4. Build a model for public awareness and education that is binational, bilingual, and bicultural and uses cutting-edge technology to connect communities across borders. We intend to export these models to other communities along the U.S. border and eventually globally. The goal is to train others to use the tools we have developed, so that they may unearth and confront their own histories of racial injustice and how that history impacts the present.

Benefits for the border region and other communities facing oppression.

Transitional justice and the use of certain mechanisms like a commission that would benefit the border region and other communities in the following ways:

  • Addressing structural racism and violence on the border

  • Healing beyond criminal justice procedures and prosecutions

  • Empowering border residents and provide victim solidarity for restorative justice practice

  • Reforming state & federal agencies for non-recurrence and prevent violence based on racism

  • Changing education curriculum in order to inform and address systematic violence and racism at the border

  • Extending border life and narrative beyond the border

  • Privileging and listening to border organizations that have been suppressed at the national level

  • Developing a cross border solidarity network to address international human rights violations along the border

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