Written by Blue Evening Star.
On the evening of October 10, 2015 change agents of the Spiritualution℠ Movement joined others in vigil for Jose Antonio Elena, a 16-year old boy who was shot 10 times by border patrol agent Lonnie Swartz in 2012. The gathering takes place monthly on both the US and Mexican side of the border fence and is in solidarity for all of the innocent victims of border patrol violence. It is also a protest against the impunity the agency and agents have received and a call for true justice. Just recently Lonnie Swartz was indicted for second degree murder charges. We await justice in this case and pray that further action is taken by authorities to bring the many other similar cases to justice. The Spiritualution℠ Movement thanks the Border Patrol Victims Action Network and the tireless work of Ana Maria and Richard to continually bring public attention back to this issue.
See entire photo gallery on the Spiritualution℠ website.
These monthly Border Vigils are destined to rock the world. This runs through my mind as I stand on the cement footing that is the foundation of THE WALL and press my face through the bars, looking down on the crowd of people who gather on the Mexico side of this monthly international cross cultural emotionally charged vigil—held at the very site where Jose Antonio Elena was shot. How ludicrous it is for the Border Patrol to claim Jose Antonio with a rock was a threat to their agent up the hill and behind the wall with a state-of-the-art weapon. Go there sometime and you will see what I mean.
The correlations between this ugly wall — that separates families and stands for hostility towards neighbors who once shared Ambos Nogales (a city in two countries) with harmony and unique borderland style — and the Berlin Wall keep bubbling up into my consciousness. The Berlin Wall had a "killing ground" that was open game for anyone caught trying to cross. Do some of the United States Border Patrol agents have delusions of being allowed to shoot anyone they want to shoot as long as they are near the wall? The desperately sad reality is that the region around the Border Wall has become a killing ground, not only for those who chance to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (like 16 year old Jose Antonio who was simply walking in the neighborhood where he lived) but for hundreds of travelers who are willing to risk their lives to travel to El Norté for economic and security reasons. For if they can get past the killing ground, where the Border Patrol and ICE agents are conducting open warfare against them (and the elements of the harsh desert terrain they must traverse to get around the check points) they, or perhaps their children, may have a chance at the American dream.
We stand and sing and pray at the Border Vigils in solidarity with the families of all the victims of violence at the border. The Border Patrol Victim's Network says that in the past 10 years 52 people have been killed by the Border Patrol — with not one being brought to justice. Lonnie Schwartz is the first to be charged with criminal charges. We can only pray that justice will served in this case. How else to send the clear message that says "This is not allowed!" Right now the message is "This is a region where certain federal agents are allowed to murder people and get away with it completely".
But this is not a vigil of anger and rage, no matter how justified those emotions may be. This is a vigil of unity and hope. This vigil is permeated by a spiritual presence that attends the faith and highly ethical intentions of all who participate. And it is permeated by the strength of our resolve to uphold humanitarian decency in the borderlands.
Spiritualution℠ — Justice to the People!
The Border Patrol Victims Network can be contacted at: