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The Borderlands

The Juárez-El Paso region is the largest bilingual, binational metropolis in the Western Hemisphere. This region is commonly subdivided into the Juárez Metropolitan Area (Zona Metropolitanade Juárez) in Chihuahua, greater El Pasoin Texas and greater Las Cruces in New Mexico. The regional population is estimated at around 2.7 million. We’re grateful to have roots here and to join a beautiful community of peace builders. We pay homage to the myriad of voices we join. We confess the conflicting identities that we represent as well as the beauty and pain of our shared histories. We honor the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and the Mescalero Apache, two Indigenous tribes with roots in the area. We honor the magnificent heritage and heartbeat of our Mexican and Mexican-American neighbors, Chicana/o andLatina/o communities, African Diaspora, fellow El Pasoans–the blend of many families and cultural memories, and all who first inhabited the land where we’re invited to reside. We honor the wisdom of Abuelita theologians, artists, elders, Dreamers, faith leaders, and local residents in the Rio Grande District (where our offices are and where many of us live), as well as our sister-city neighbors across the border.


We are one community in two nations. What is happening on the border is symptomatic to what is happening around the world. Like any place, there is so much beauty and pain here. There are many tales and migrant narratives of identity from the Chihuahuan Desert. For centuries, sojourners and desert dwellers set roots here - even for a time. Our hope is to extend a hand along people's journey in search for refuge, safety, and life. Currently, on the US-Mexico Border, thousands of families have limited options and are fleeing from The Northern Triangle of Central America (Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala) while many other neighbors arrive from all over the global map.


The world is polarizing. Border cities around the world share unique perspectives. Rivers can be a powerful metaphor: The realities of global migration, push/pull factors, and the “why” upstream have significant implications for the divides we see and experience downstream. Meanwhile, thousands of our neighbors seek refuge in the face of gang violence, economic despair, conflict zones, war tourism, extortion, corruption, disintegrated families, trauma, statelessness, and natural disasters along global refugee highways.


We are inspired by our neighbor's resilience, spiritual strength, and creative brilliance in response to severe instability, immigration detention, and forced displacement. Now is the time to pursue beloved community across the borders that exist within ourselves, within our communities, and around the world. We invite you to partner with Abara. 


A virtual exhibition at the University of Colorado, Denver, College of Architecture and Planning by Laurie Smith Virtual Viewing

Border Wall-Landscape-Architecture-Human Crisis by Laurie Smith takes you to the barrier that divides two countries. Smith, who was born and raised in El Paso, transports her audience to the U.S.-Mexico border through an evocative display of black and white photographs. Smith’s photographs showcase a tangled reality that juxtaposes serene landscapes and austere architecture through a form that displays both sublime beauty and grave darkness.


Here one can examine the symbolic, sociocultural, economic, and ecological impacts of a barrier that undoubtedly will shape political discord for years to come.

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