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Antiochians Respond to Call for Migrant Justice

On the morning of Wednesday, December 12, community members, including Antioch College faculty, staff, and students, gathered in Birch Kitchen with a delegation of 15 water protectors, allies, and educators from the leading edge of migration justice and indigenous sovereignty. The gathering was arranged by Antioch College Trustee Matthew Morgan ’99. The attendees represented several Tribal Nations, from Navajo, Shawnee, Dakota Sioux, Anishinaabe, Pawnee/Seminole, to activists/allies newly engaged in action around the migrant crisis centered currently in Tijuana and the border near San Diego. Borders have a long history of disrupting indigenous peoples’ lands, desecrating sacred sites, and disturbing natural laws of the delicate wildlife. All have been working to mobilize humanitarian aid and direct action in response to the forces seizing land, contaminating water, and attempting to divide peoples straddling borders set by colonial powers.

 

The group filled the dining hall, and sitting a circle, the visitors shared their personal stories of action and set a tone of respectful listening for the community gathered to learn. Matthew Morgan invited the group to campus to engage in this dialogue to discover how we can strengthen the College’s education around social action as well as to find ways we can collaborate through collective efforts.

A gift by a donor made on behalf of the College to Altruist Relief Kitchen (ARK) will contribute to this effort. A mobile disaster relief organization providing free meals, clean water, and basic medical care for those most in need, ARK and its all-volunteer staff have responded to disasters like Hurricane Harvey and fed Water Protectors at Standing Rock. The founder, Lucid Lorax, plans to set up his 2,000-square-foot relief kitchen in Tijuana in January to provide support to those in the migrant caravan. The donation will be put to use in creating stoves and tents from recycled materials and providing other supplies that will be bussed over the border.

Beyond Matthew Morgan’s efforts, other Antiochians and community members have mobilized around the call for migrant justice. Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology Jennifer Grubbs traveled to the border this November to conduct research and meet with members of the Honduran caravan. Alex Rolland ’17, owner of Renegade Media, has been producing drone footage of the migrant caravan across the border to provide documentation of the situation. He hosted a workshop at his home after Thanksgiving to provide the Yellow Springs community with information about the situation at the border, what migrants need, and organizations that can receive donations. Marcell Vanarsdale ’18, Mary Evans ’21, and the Antioch Creative Collective hosted a drive in Yellow Springs with donation bins on campus and at local businesses to collect clothes, toiletries, and other supplies that will head to Tijuana in the new year. Instructor of Cooperative Education Luisa Bieri Rios is also exploring Co-op options with RAICES.

A cornerstone of an Antioch education is to "Act for Justice" as is the practice of Deliberative Democracy, Diversity, and Social Justice. We look forward to more collaboration and learning at the start of the new year and new quarter for the College.