Border Wall Construction Underway in Arizona

This is a tour through part of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona.
It’s noted for the rare cactii in it’s name, but also is an immigration corridor for many. It’s also adjacent to the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation:

The reservation straddles both sides of the US/Mexico border, and some reports suggest that the border wall construction could instigate a Standing Rock-style protest. The reservation has been struggling with difficulties from immigrant crossings, though the border wall doesn’t promise to alleviate them.
Here are some updates on the border wall construction that is underway:(thanks Leslie Parke)

Hot ticket: the high price of immigration to the USA

An interactive map of the 3600+ migrant deaths in the Arizona desert since 1981 can be found here:

“The U.S. Border Patrol [later] implemented a strategy called Prevention Through Deterrence. Since its inception, this approach has redirected migrant routes into the most inhospitable sections of the border, deploying the perilous desert as a tool to prevent entry into the United States.” (wikipedia)

The first time I drove through this area, my rear-view mirror fell off the windshield because of the heat, and my car didn’t have AC. After that trip, I realized AC was essential for driving in the southwest. Poor me..! Today it’s 105 in Phoenix, projected to lower to 86 by sunrise. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument was 102 today. The last time I was there it was 112; I’d have to take breaks to go inside every 15 minutes.

Many of the bodies were unidentifiable, as they bloat and decay rapidly due to the heat. Vultures and wildlife pick them apart; they can be unidentifiable in a matter of days.

If you look through the map and index, you’ll see most die from hyperthermia, or advanced heat stroke. Some never even seem to have made it over the border, like 6 year old Gurupreet Kaur, who died of hyperthermia just north of Sonoyta. They suggest carrying two gallons of water per day, but I’d venture that’s a conservative estimate in that heat, and if you’ve ever done a 30+ mile hike carrying a few gallons of liquid, 8.34 lbs. each, you might have an idea how challenging that could be.

Luis Alberto Urrea describes a conversation with a young woman who’d come over the border. He thought perhaps her family was seeking better economic opportunities, but she responded that she’d been walking to school in (I believe) Sonoyta; gang members decapitated a man on the other side of the street ahead of her, and the blood splattered all over her school uniform. That’s when the family decided to leave.

For some people, the land of the free and the brave carries a high price tag.

Here’s a tour of the town Sonoyta, mentioned above. The driver heads down the street that the coyote lived on, who led the Yuma 14 to their deaths in the early 1980s.

Check out Urrea’s excellent book, “The Devil’s Highway,” which offers unparalleled insight into the border migration journey and the Border Patrol’s dual role trying to keep immigrants alive but out of our country.

Who’s Visiting Immigrant Detainees At The Adelanto Detention Center?

Arthur Kegerreis, Ecri Gutierrez and Edie Salisbury wait and prepare to visit immigrant detainees inside the women’s wing of the Adelanto Detention Center. (Aaron Schrank/LAist)

Journalist Aaron Schrank joined us visiting some immigrants in detention at the Adelanto ICE detention center, and his coverage aired on PBS; the printed version is online here:

NPYM Directory System

We are currently doing trials with the Directory System that’s been developed by people at North Pacific Yearly Meeting:
We’re grateful to John Gotts of NPYM for helping us with this.

These are the reports it offers without being logged into the admin system database. If you have a password and have logged into the admin system, you should logout before using these:

Show Committees:

Show Directory:
To log into this, you’ll need to already be entered as an attender at one of the meetings in the database, and have an email address in it. If you haven’t created an account to log in, it will offer that ability via email.

Show Yearly Meeting Notes History:

“History was a very recent addition to the system this past year to capture essential information about past annual sessions. If you look at (our past and current approach to archiving documents related to sessions) and scroll to the bottom there is a link to the new history summary presentation.” – J Gotts

Show Meetings:

The original system install files can be downloaded here:

The following is excerpted from the installation instructions. While some of it is a bit technical, it does provide guidelines for how the info should be loaded:

Three scripts are provided to facilitate initial loading of meeting, attender and meeting contact information from spreadsheet-sourced data files. These three scripts may be accessed directly by a logged in system administrator. They may also be accessed from buttons provided in relevant pages of the admin system. Those buttons are “import attenders”, “import meetings”, “import meeting contacts”.
Loading data must be done in a particular order:
1) Load data to describe any meetings that are not yet known to the system and that will be referenced by new attender data.
2) Load attender data
3) Load meeting contact information.
(script: ./admin_system/upload_meetings.php)
(script: ./admin_system/upload_attenders.php)
(script: ./admin_system/upload_meeting_contacts.php)
When you navigate to one of the upload…php scripts, they provide further guidance about the nature of the expected uploaded data, and provide a form in which you can identify a file to be uploaded.
Three files are provided as starting points to define meeting, attender and contact input data fields. • ./admin_system/includes/sample_meetings_upload.tsv
• ./admin_system/includes/sample_attenders_upload.tsv
• ./admin_system/includes/sample_meeting_contacts_upload.tsv
Download these three files, and click on the downloaded files to open them in Excel or OpenOffice.
Note: you do Not need to fill in all of the blanks in a row of data. Only basic identifying information is required. A recommended approach would be to create a few rows of data and run an upload to see the results. Warning and error messages will help you pin-point issues that were detected and reference the row of the input file for each case.
The first meeting upload file should contain a record for your yearly meeting, followed by a record for a quarterly meeting under the care of that yearly meeting, followed by a record for a meeting or worship group under that care of that quarterly meeting. You may choose to load records for all quarters within the yearly meeting in that initial upload, or not. The main thing to consider is that references may only be made to a yearly meeting, or quarterly meeting, or meeting, or worship group if that entity has previously been loaded into the system.
Attender data may be loaded for any meetings or worship groups that have already been loaded.
Meeting contact data may be loaded to connect previously loaded attender data to previously loaded meeting data.
If you re-run an upload containing previously uploaded data the duplicate rows will be skipped with appropriate warning messages.
When first getting started with data uploads, you should view the initially uploaded data through the admin system user interface to get a feel for where to find that data and a sense of how it may be amended.
All uploaded data may be edited, deleted, or supplemented through the administration pages of the admin system. Navigate to the area of interest using the left sidebar of the admin system interface.
Under normal use of the admin system, data is rarely/never uploaded in bulk. Rather, it is entered manually. However, if a new meeting or worship group needs to be added in the future and attender data can be supplied for bulk upload – that option remains available.
There are internal reports available to a logged in admin system user, and there are publicly accessible reports. The publicly accessible reports are provided through the four php files that exist outside of the admin_system directory:
• showDirectory.php
• showMeetings.php
• showCommittees.php • showHistory.php
Only “showDirectory.php” requires user login, as it displays attender contact data. The other reports are considered to be public information that does not require login. If your yearly meeting determines that those other reports should require login, your web site administrator (if they know PHP) should be able to copy relevant code from showDirectory and apply it for use in the other cases.
The manner in which showDirectory users gain access to the attender report is as follows:

  1. A new user enters their preferred email address and clicks either “Forgot Password” or
  2. If the supplied email address is not yet associated with any uploaded attender an error message
    tells the user that they are not in the database. [The approach here is that only persons who are recognized attenders should have access to the information in the database about other attenders.]
  3. If the supplied email address is associated with an uploaded attender an email is sent to that email address with a link to permit the user to establish a new or updated password for future access to the system.
  4. After the user receives the welcome email from the system, clicks a contained link, and sets a new password, they are invited to log into the system.
  5. At that point (or after initially supplying a valid username and password) the user may qualify the type of attender report they want to view (in showDirectory) – to view the entire attender data of the yearly meeting, all attenders within a Quarter, or all attenders of a specific meeting or worship group.

Re-install for upgrade
When the system is initially installed, a “config.php” file is created in the /includes folder, based upon information provided during that process.

The install package does not contain a config.php file, so a new install file may be unzipped to replace a previous install. The old config.php file will be detected and used.

Up Against the Wall

Our San Diego Border Tour

Pedro Rios and Shan Cretin
Pedro Rios and Me
Port of Entry at left, and outlet mall parking lot with border wall

On November 25, 2018, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) closed the San Ysidro Port of Entry, at the south end of San Diego, and all businesses in the area. The large Las Americas Outlets Shopping Mall is adjacent to the port of entry, and the American border wall, constructed of recycled military landing pad panels and easily scaled, lines its southern parking lot. San Ysidro is the busiest Port of Entry along the Southern US border. A nearby refugee shelter in Tijuana was intended to house up to 2,000 people, but was overflowing with 6,000 people. As people crowded the streets, the Mexican police forced the crowds into the canal between the countries border walls, which resembles the paved LA River. As they were pushed into the canal, the American CBP fired teargas grenades into the crowd – who were technically in Mexico – and their helicopters hovered overhead, pushing the gas down into the crowd. 

The area was closed for 5 hours, during which time the US Businesses estimated over five million dollars in losses, and Tijuana estimated 6 million lost. But many of us were more horrified by the human rights abuses than the commercial losses. 
In response, Pedro Rios, who led a 2017 workshop at Orange Grove Monthly Meeting on “Defending the Rights of Immigrants,” and who runs the San Diego American Friend’s Service Committee office, had a vision. What if we could get 150 interfaith leaders to stage a non-violent protest in nearby Friendship Park, at the border beach? In December, an annual La Posada Sin Fronteras – Posada Without Borders – event was to soon celebrate it’s 25th anniversary in the park. Friendship Park has traditionally been a place where families in both countries could come to see and talk to each other. 

On August 18, 1971, Pat Nixon came to the park, which then only had a chest high rancher’s barbwire fence, and shook the hand of a Mexican man, stating, “I hope there won’t be a fence here too long.” As the fortifications and division escalated over the subsequent years, Friendship Park remained a symbol of hope and unity. A Methodist minister named John Fanestil holds an interfaith border church service there every Sunday afternoon; while once he was able to share communion wafers and “wine” with the Mexican participants, now a heavy grate separates the two areas, making that impossible, even if the supervising Border Patrol agents were to allow it. The number of people allowed into the area between the two walls, which line a CBP road running into the hills from the beach, has declined from two dozen to ten, for a maximum of 30 minutes. Often they’re not allowed to take pictures.

Border Protest – photo by Abramsky from “The Nation”

In December, not 150, but hundreds of faith leaders descended on the beach at the edge of the park. Many had attended a training the day before. The faith leaders willing to be arrested sat on the sand between the two walls while hundreds of others stood by. Border Patrol agents dressed in riot gear formed a line between them and Mexico, and eventually 32 faith leaders were arrested. Among them was Shan Cretin, former General Secretary of the AFSC, and Lucy Duncan, who serves as a Meeting Representative liaison for AFSC. Jim Summers from La Jolla Monthly Meeting reported that most of the officers were surprisingly “well-behaved” although some seemed ready to beat someone as soon as they’d be able to. Shan has reported that some of the people whose arrests went to court received $150 fines and some community service. Her case hasn’t been heard yet. 
When Southern CA Quarterly Meeting received approval to hold this year’s Spring Gathering at San Diego Meeting, adjacent to Pedro’s AFSC office, I inquired about a possible border tour for our attendees. Pedro agreed, taking time from his Sunday “off” to lead and educate us. 

Jane Blount shows a bag made by SCQM Quaker youth service project participants at a nearby shelter the day before

Still reeling from the news reports of a shooting in a Poway Synagogue at the north end of San Diego the day before, we convened near the Outlet Mall, where Pedro detailed the November attack, and explained the Port of Entry’s history, and enormous volume of traffic it sustains. 

Smuggler’s Gulch lies beyond this hill. These tires are dragged over the dirt road to make footprints more easily visible.

From there, we drove to Friendship Park, past a notch in the hills known as Smuggler’s Gulch, which was largely filled years ago, and was once one of the main illegal avenues into the US for migrants and drug smugglers. The dirt road from the parking lot to the park itself winds through a mile and a half of marshes, and three tires lay in the middle of the road. Up the hill, the border wall is an ever-present sign of separation. Pedro explained that the tires are dragged over the road by Border Patrol to help make footprints easily visible. Pedro discussed the different border wall prototypes, now dismantled, that had been built east of San Ysidro, with the designers’ hopes of winning Trump’s Border Wall contract. Among the criteria for the wall design were that they be impossible to scale, and that they have visual transparency, so the Border Patrol could see people on the other side. 

On a sunny Sunday afternoon hike with a group of 25 people, it was hard to imagine the marshes at night, with desperate families trying to run across them, being watched by Border Patrol officers with night vision equipment. In the 1980’s, pre-ROTC teens performed their own racist “manuvers” at night there, while the Border Patrol turned their heads and pretended not to know. They called themselves, “bean hunters,” a derogatory reference to Mexicans and Mexican food. Vietnam-war-style traps with holes and wooden stakes were dug, and the teens dressed in camouflage para-military outfits chased and shot BB guns at the immigrants who were trying to cross the marsh. Pedro later shared YouTube links, including a news reporter who joined the teens on their expeditions. I’m still haunted by the image of a family huddled in a culvert, cornered by the paramilitary teens and their guns – not knowing they weren’t loaded with bullets but BB’s, unable to speak English to them. These kids had come from the same area as the previous day’s Synagogue shooter, an area not far from us, where racist Aryan ideology still isn’t that uncommon. 

When we reached the Friendship Circle and Bi-National Garden, we were greeted by a friendly Border Patrol officer who seemed to know Pedro. He let us through a gate, ten people at a time. The American side of the wall was nearly deserted, but on the Tijuana side, CAIR San Diego and the Latina Muslim Foundation had organized a bi-national prayer event. Many people were chanting and bowing on prayer rugs. Thick metal grates covered the wall; you could barely stick a finger through them. Nearby was a large rusty gate door in the wall. Apparently this has only been opened eight times since the wall was built, on special occasions. The last time was for a special 2017 wedding with an American man and Mexican bride. It was later discovered he had smuggled drugs, so the event became seen as a disgrace by officials, who vowed that the door will never open again. 

Pastor John Fanestil arrived to hold border church services, with a camera crew in tow. But he spent more of his time talking with our group and sharing pictures of the border church over the years. As he and Anthony Manousos talked, they discovered they’d both known Anthony’s former late wife years before. We all posed for a group photo, and the tourist who took the photo for us turned out to have worked for AFSC in Portland, Maine! 

We all began the hike back to the parking lot; some of our group were recovering from mobility impediments but really wanted to join the trip, so it took quite a while for us to wait for their return so we could say our final goodbyes, regroup, and begin our drives back north. So many friends had come long distances to join us, and we barely had time to talk with each other. As we focused our dependent attention on the GPS and merged into the moderately heavy traffic on the freeway, it all seemed like a surreal dream receding behind us. We’d wandered like happy tourists through a passageway haunted with desperate attempts to find a new life in our country. It was hard to reconcile the daytime images of fields filled with spring flowers being the site of Border Patrol apprehensions in the dark of night. What – if anything, could we do about it all?  

Clerking Resource List from Barbara Babin

Barbara Babin shared this clerking resource list following her clerking workshop at Orange Grove Monthly Meeting:

Resource List

Orange Grove Clerking Workshop

February 3, 2018

Books and Pamphlets

Boardman, Elizabeth. Where Should I Stand? A Field Guide for Monthly Meeting Clerks.

Quaker Press of FGC. 2008

Friends General Conference, Ministry and Nurture Committee. Dealing with Difficult Behavior in Meeting for Worship: Meeting the Needs of the Many while Responding to the Needs of the Few. Quaker Press, 2007.

Gorman, George H. The Amazing Fact of Quaker Worship. Quaker Home Service, Friends House, London. 1979.

Gwyn, Douglas. A Sustainable Life. FGC Quaker Press, 2014 – see especially Ch.5

Loring, Patricia. Listening Spirituality, Volume II: Corporate Spiritual Practice Among Friends.   Openings Press, 1999.

Loring, Patricia. Spiritual Responsibility in the Meeting for Business. Friends General Conference, 1993.

Morely, Barry. Beyond Consensus: Salvaging the Sense of the Meeting. Pendle Hill Pamphlet 307, 1993.

Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Faith and Practice. 2001

Sheeran, Michael J. Beyond Majority Rule: Voteless Decisions in the Religious Society of Friends. 1983

Stanfield, David O. A Handbook for the Presiding Clerk. North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends, 1989

On-Line Resources

East, Klara. Summary of “Conversations About Clerking” Workshop with Joe Franko and Shan Cretin.       Visalia Friends Meeting.

Evans, Storm. Reflections on Clerking a Quaker Committee. Friends Journal, April 2011.

Friends General Conference. Vital Meetings pt.2.pdf

  • Signals and Actions
  • Meeting for Reconciliation
  • A Guide for Conducting the Meeting for Reconciliation
  • Sense of the Meeting, Sense of the Parking Lot

Gardner, Sue. Raw Notes from the Quaker Clerking Workshop.

(Blog with notes from the 2010 clerking workshop with Eric Moon and Elizabeth Boardman)

Grace, Eden. An Introduction to Quaker Business Practice. World Council of Churches


Mohr, Chris. Clinic on Quaker Clerking.

(Blog report of 2011 clinic with Berkeley Meeting)

Quakers in Britain. The Boundaries Game.

Casa de Paz

Casa de Paz was mentioned in one of the AFSC online webinars our Pasadena UU/QSCM Group participated in last summer. It’s an inspiring example of how people can make a difference with conditions relating to immigration detention by establishing a support presence in the nearby community.

What would it take to make this happen in Adelanto?

About Casa de Paz:

Start Something, Start Slow, Start Now

When Detained Immigrants Are Released,

Casa De Paz Is Waiting To Lend A Hand

House of Peace

Casa de Paz Is Now Hosting Immigrants and Families in an Actual “Casa”

Reader: Sarah Jackson’s Casa de Paz Proves There Are Good People Out There

Casa de Paz serves a holding space for immigrants, families in Colorado

Casa de Paz offers shelter from immigration storm

Sanctuary Everywhere

Sanctuary Everywhere Live!

The AFSC “Calls for Spirited Action” were succeeded by this webinar series. 

What is “Sanctuary Everywhere?”
(from ) 

Sanctuary Everywhere is the simple idea that everyday people can work together to keep each other safe. Sanctuary can mean taking someone into a congregation to protect them from deportation, but more broadly, it’s about the community coming together to protect targeted communities from state violence—including immigrants, people of color, targeted religious groups, or LGBTQ folks. 

Here, you’ll find resources for individuals, schools, colleges, congregations, and communities to create safe, welcoming spaces for all people. 

We hope to equip thousands of people with tools and training to stop hateful acts and to encourage policies and practices that promote safety and inclusion.

Here are the upcoming (as of posting date) webinars:
Unfortunately the call in details aren’t on this page of the website. 
I believe you have to sign up for their email announcements at this webpage:

Jan. 18, 8:30 to 10 p.m. ET (5:30 – 7pm PST)
Creating sanctuary policies in schools and cities

March 15, 8:30 to 10 p.m. ET
Who’s watching? Surveillance in communities and how to track and interrupt it

May 17, 8:30 to 10 p.m. ET
Working to end abuse in policing

Webinars are interactive, with time for questions and discussion. Recordings and additional efforts will be made available.
Here are archived prior webinars:

Bystander Intervention Training
Learn how to intervene in public instances of racist, anti-Black, anti-Muslim, anti-Trans, and other forms of oppressive interpersonal violence and harassment. … n-training

Quaker Social Change Ministry
How to incorporate spiritual practice into your social change work 
On Sept. 21, AFSC held the Sanctuary Everywhere webinar “Quaker Social Change Ministry.” QSCM is a model to help congregations and other groups engage in Spirit-led activism while following the leadership of those most impacted by injustice. … e-ministry

How to Offer Sanctuary
Listen to a recording of our July conference call, with information for congregations considering offering sanctuary. … -sanctuary

Featuring someone who has lived in sanctuary; organizers and congregation members; and an immigration attorney.

May 29, 2018 QSCM Cohort Call Notes

marjorie cornwell bkln
jeff hissling indianola iowa

agenda review
anti racist accompaniment principles
getting started sustaining work

Aurora Levin Morales
Say these words when you lie down and when you rise up

Jeff Kissling
return to Iowa / Indianapolis
Kepper Institute, Ind., IN
Climate Change straw bales houses available after flooding

Poem –
Leadings Workshop
PYM preparation
CSCO Group reaction
UU/QSCM personal dynamics –

15th St Mtg P&SC Clerk
w/New Sanctuary Coalition of NY
Court accompaniment – from a few/mo to a few/wk
WA Sq Pk 1st Sunday Peace Vigil
Natl Religious Campaign against Torture
Action Core Catholic wkr war resisters league – Yemen situation
Friend’s Seminary School at 15th St Mtg – conflict btwn Mtg & School

QSCM Intro:
Lucy: individual leadings about Social Change
some had minutes but not collective action
divides between activists and mystics & mutual disinterest
Jenn Piper in Denver pointed us to UU structure
based on Parker Palmer’s Circles of Trust origin (Quaker)
To bring a different world into being, we need to practice it with each other.
Accompaniment is at the core.
1st hr spiritual
2nd hr business – from group you’re accompanying
Phil – Amir Healing Center Victoria Greene son was murdered

Louis Webb AFSC Immigrant Rights Work
Amy Gottlieb New Sanctuary charge

P&SJ 5 people from meeting
all women

Ferguson time – social media interest, traveled to Ferguson
invited people in group

Around Followership:
Jonathan Wilson Heart w/William Barber
On Followership Building up the mvt I can’t lead

Paolo Friere
Oppressor class, move to side of exploited,
lack of confidence in people’s ability
trust of people absolutely essential