Delegates on an Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera delegation celebrate 10 years of solidarity with workers on the U.S./Mexican border.Photo: AFSC / AFSC
By Judith Rosenberg
In February 2010, 11 of us trooped down to Piedras Negras Mexico to celebrate our 10-year anniversary with our Mexican partners, the CFO (Comité Fronterizo de Obreras/os). We looked back; we looked forward. We evaluated, sang praises, and ate barbeque chicken. They gave us plaques of recognition and gifts. Some of us, Mexican and US, were awed. Some of us were new to the idea of our solidarity and were thrilled--or confused.
It’s a warm, sometimes volatile, forgiving relationship, making room for our imperfections in a high pressure environment. More than surviving, ATCF has prospered on our own terms, been part of local events as well as a social justice movement on the global level. We’ve created a unique foothold in history by chance and the wit to seize opportunities – special thanks here to the vision of local activists such as Doug Zachary and Tom West and to AFSC leadership—Josefina Castillo and Ricardo Hernandez—and to the wisdom of the CFO leaders like Julia Quiñones.
Here’s our achievement: With the CFO, we have created an intentional bi-national space of solidarity, built on equality, accompaniment and trust. In perspective, we’ve outwitted history. We’ve done our work and pursued our mission in defiance of longstanding, ruthless, near sacrosanct history of exploitation and imperialism that would never have intended Austin Tan Cerca to exist.