Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of New Mexico had the honor to work with twenty other social justice organizations on our campus for our first ever Mock Wall Week. The coalition formed almost a year ago after seeing what the University of Arizona did with collaborating human rights issues with the US-Mexico Border and the Israeli Apartheid wall.
We started off with meetings starting last semester, and continuing on until the day before the mock wall was erected on campus. The coalition of social justice organizations have also been working with the Association of Architects for Design & Urbanism, a graduate Latin@ architecture group on campus who helped us come up with the plan for how the mock wall would look like. We worked closely with each other which made this an enriching experience. We were all learning from each other during this time, about different human rights issues that face our community and our world.
For instance, I’ve learned so much about the issues that undocumented immigrants face in our communities. Working with Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) has really opened my eyes to a problem that really does affect the Albuquerque community. Throughout this process we exchanged stories from Palestine and stories from Mexico. We worked with a student theater group called SCRAP productions who spent time with us on formulating monologues, rehearsing mock checkpoints and giving us an opportunity to express ourselves. I spoke of stories of Palestine that I’ve experienced, and witnessed while my friends would speak of stories they’ve experienced in their life. It was a way of us all connecting together and learning from each other.
We hope to make the Mock Wall Campaign an annual project that we can add more social justice groups onto. I feel it’s important that we learn to build bridges, and really stand up for human rights whether it’s local or global; it’s our duty as human beings to continue the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality for all people, no matter who they are or where they live.
Next semester, UNM Students for Justice in Palestine will be launching a BDS campaign, and we hope to get some of the same groups that helped us with the mock wall, help us with the BDS campaign. What people aren’t aware of is that many of the corporations giving money to the Israeli occupation are also affecting communities here in New Mexico and across the border in Mexico. We want to make more connections, so then we can be a stronger movement and force to push for human rights around the globe.
The Mock Wall Coalition consists of these organizations: Students for Justice in Palestine, Raza Graduate Student Association, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, Free Alvaro Now, Amnesty International, Association of Architects for Design & Urbanism, (Un)Occupy Albuquerque, SCRAP Productions, Food Not Bombs, A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, Out Queer Grads, KIVA Club, Queer Straight Alliance, Fair Trade Initiative, African Leadership Opportunity Team, GetEQUAL NM, Students Organizing Actions for Peace, Muslim Student Association, One Million Bones, and Student Dharma Association.