A Report From the Border
Pedro Trevino was raised, along with nine brothers, on Doffing Road across from the Eli Jackson Cemetery near Mission, Texas. To the east are vast cilantro fields and 200 yards north is the earthen levee, the site of the coming border wall. Pedro has watched the all but abandoned cemetery come to life with renewed interest from the Ramirez family and other descendants of the black and white Alabama family who, in the 1850s, settled on the river there. He watched as a small group of protesters established a camp there and, along with Eli Jackson’s many Great descendants, cleaned and made order of this long unknown and all but neglected sacred piece of land.
Pedro brings fresh vegetables to the camp several times a week and it was there one morning that I met and befriended the 71 year old Vietnam Veteran. He and his brother Tomas are just a few of the locals I got to know while working in the south to protect the property and lifeways of many Rio Grande Valley residents. Among those I met with are Marianne Trevino Wright, Director of the National Butterfly Center, Fred Cavazos, whose rental properties on the river will be cut off by the wall and Ramirez Family members, Sylvia Ramirez, Dr. Ramiro Ramirez and Pablo Villareal Jr who is the Hidalgo County Tax Collector. At the Eli Jackson Cemetery camp I also met and lived with two professors from Antioch College in Ohio and a former Custom and Border Patrol agent from upstate New York who stands in opposition to the wall.
I also met with many state and national news organizations, whose reporters filtered in and out of camp. Much media attention has been given the Ramirez family and the camp as we struggle to protect the final resting place of their family in this ancestral cemetery. The work we’ve taken on there has intensified the national discussion of the sanctity of people’s lives (and deaths in this case), government intrusion, immigrant policy and the explosive growth of private detention centers. There is much work left to be done and although wall construction has not yet began in earnest it is as though an axe is being held over the heads of many people in Mission and the Rio Grande Valley. The camp remains at the cemetery, another has been established at the National Butterfly Center and plans are to establish one on Fred Cavazos property. My work now focuses on how best to apply money and energy to those most needing help in the path of the wall. We have done good work there, with your support, and yet much much more work is needed. I pray we all remain focused and not let passing time lessen our interest or dedication to this fight because it has only actually just begun.
Thank you all for all your help.