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A Place Worth Walking To

Have you ever heard the phrase, “change of place plus change of pace equals change in perspective”?Imagine yourself standing on the same ground where Chinese laborers stood in the 1880’s, building a railroad that would become the only snow-free transcontinental route in the United States that facilitated trade, passengers and material goods. (That is, until the Chinese Exclusion Act went into effect). 

The same ground where the notoriously violent Spanish colonist Don Juan de Oñate crossed the Rio Grande in 1598, claiming a path and land for himself that had already been inhabited for years by native peoples.

The same ground where Simeon Hart used enslaved people to run his mill which provided supplies to the Confederate Army.

The same ground that would later bear witness to the broken bones of people falling from the border wall, as they cross the Rio Grande in desperate hope of something different for themselves and their children.

The same ground that Border Patrol drives today, a cloud of red-brown dust in their wake.

To explain the complexities of this particular border, this ground, is no small task. To bring people together to experience our shared humanity in a place with such a storied, colorful, and often painful history is a monumental effort.

It’s an invitation to a pilgrimage; a long walk toward a place that will prove worthy of the journey; a place where shared transformation can fuel collective action. It’s a crazy idea, but it’s one we are walking toward with commitment and anticipation. 

El Paso means "the pass,” an accurate name for a pilgrimage like this one. Our friend Adrián Aragonés, a professor of Chicano Studies at UTEP, aptly states, "the border as a whole is a point of reflection." The word “reflection” means “serious or careful thought,” but it can also mean “the image of something in a mirror.”

We can’t help but think about all that Abara House will reflect in years to come: 

  • a place for travelers of every variety to pass through

  • a place where perspectives may shift

  •  a place where pilgrimages of the soul will only root deeper 

There is no better place to host conversations about the complexities of root causes than the border. 

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