With the support of the Global Initiative and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, the organization Derechos Humanos Integrales en Accion (DHIA), which has worked since 2014 at promoting human rights in Juárez, ran a summer camp on Participatory Research Methods, with activities including training on writing, photography, data collection and analysis along with communication and dissemination strategies. One such activity included a songwriting workshop, resulting in a song* that camp participants wrote and performed, based on their lived experiences on the border. Music can be a powerful form of resilience, and the rap piece provided a glimpse into the participants’ experiences in migration facilities.

We were delighted at the Music on the Wall concert’s inclusion of a rap composed by participants of a recent project with youth on the El Paso- Juárez border. The concert took place June 30th, 2019, in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, a part of El Paso–Juárez, which is the second-largest binational metropolitan area on the border of the United States and Mexico

*My Future, Standing (Lyrics)

ESPEN
Apenas tenía trece cuando yo cruce ese muro
No sabia lo que hacia era un poco inmaduro
Yo quería mas dinero porque no había pa’comer
Yo miraba a mi Jefita triste y sin saber que hacer
Le dije que me iba pa’ poderla mantener.
 
Soy de Juárez, conocido como inmigrante
Mi trabajo es distraer al vigilante
Para muchos el otro lado es brillante
Donde puedes conseguir muchos billetes
y diamantes
 
Y en breve! Voy corriendo como liebre!
Me asombra la rapidez con la que vive
Y como quisiera ser igual de libre.
 
Que lleguen bien al otro lado y con sus familias
yo procuro
Brincar cercos y desiertos es bastante duro
No dejare que me agarre la migra yo lo juro
El verdadero miedo comienza cuando brincas
el muro.
 
Cruzando el rio
Cuando pega el jale yo sonrío
Pero si tuerzo se arma un lio
Con muchas ganas llegar yo ansío.
 
Y en breve!
 
Que cruce la gente
Siempre cargo los recuerdos en mi mente
Siempre trato de vivir en el presente
En el desierto se han quedado muchos inocentes.
 
 
Yo me tope a un bato y me dijo yo te ayudo
El me ofreció esa chamba a cambio de un futuro
Nos agarro la migra yo no sabía que hacer
Me deportaron a mi México y ya no regrese.
I was only thirteen when I crossed that wall
Didn’t know what I was doing, was a bit immature
I wanted more money ‘cause there was none to eat
My mother looked sad, not knowing what to do
I told her I was leaving to support her.
 
I’m from Juarez, known as a migrant
My job is to distract the vigilante
For many the other side is brilliant
Where you can get much money and diamonds
 

And suddenly, I am running like a hare!
I am in awe of how fast they live
How I wish I was that free.
 
That [migrants] arrive safely and with their families I try
To jump across hills and deserts is quite hard
I won’t let immigration catch me, I swear
The real fear only starts once you cross the fence.
 
Crossing the river
If I make it, I smile
But otherwise it is bad.
I can’t wait to arrive.
 
And suddenly!
 
May the people cross
I always carry the memories in my mind
I always try to live in the present
So many innocents have fallen in the desert.
 
I ran into a guy who told me I’ll help you
He offered me this hustle in exchange for a future
Immigration caught us I didn’t know what to do
I was deported to my Mexico and I never went back.
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Author

Gabriella E. Sanchez

Dr. Gabriella E. Sanchez (Ph.D., Arizona State University) is a research fellow at the Migrant Smuggling Observatory at the European University Institute’s Migration Policy Centre. She specializes in the study of the social dynamics of transnational criminal organizations, her main area of focus being the facilitation of migrant smuggling, the market’s interactions with other criminal groups and the decision making processes of its members.

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