The Southwest

Fronteras | Borders


The U.S. - Mexican Border: El Paso, Texas

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May 6, 2015
— El Paso, Texas is where I grew up and it's where my family — my parents and three siblings — still live. El Paso is where I chose to begin my photo journey because this is the place I will think about every time I visit a border town; what I will use to compare the lives of immigrants who I meet in the next 18 months, to my own life on the Mexican-U.S. border.
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The U.S. - Mexican Border: Ciudad Juárez • La Equis

La Equis

May 6, 2015 —
One of the first things I do when I visit El Paso, TX, is walk to the top of Rim Road. The two-minute walk from my family home leads to a panoramic view of the City of El Paso, with the mountainous view in the background of Ciudad Juárez, México.

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The U.S. - Mexican Border: Mt Cristo Rey

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Photo: Mt. Cristo Rey


May 6, 2015 — This is a view of Christo Rey. It can be seen from the large picture window in my parents' home. Because it faces Southeast of where they live, we often see these glorious sunsets highlighting the large cross on top of the mountain. On my first night home, I was thrilled to be welcomed by this view!
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The U.S. - Mexican Border: Sunset Heights

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May 7, 2015 —
908 West Missouri: This is my childhood home as it looks today. It is located in Sunset Heights, two houses from our parish church (Holy Family). Behind us was an alley, which separated us from my elementary school and then from the border highway.
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The U.S. - Mexican Border: My Neighborhood

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May 7, 2015 —
It was especially sad, when I visited my old neighborhood, to see the condition of my old high school. Jesus & Mary Academy was an all-girl boarding school run by nuns of the Jesus & Mary Order. In my memories, it was filled with laughter, learning and dreams. It was welcoming, bright and cheery, and colorful posters were often taped on the windows during holidays or Spirit Week. This picture shows that it was taken over by a local Pentecostal Church. The sign in Spanish reads "Center of Life, West."

When it was my high school, there was a residency program for girls from Cuidad Juárez and local girls from the neighborhood attended as day students. It was two blocks from my home. It was at this school when I met four young men from Providence College who inspired me to take a leap of faith to explore the world.

As I stood in front to take this photo, the iron fence made me feel unwelcome, like a border wall put up between the past and the present.
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The U.S. - Mexican Border: The Tortilla Curtain

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May 8, 2015 —
I guess when this barbed wire fence was erected, the government felt it was enough to keep people from trying to climb it. The chain-linked fence divides the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso and has sharp razors fastened at the top. Its mere presence affects one’s psyche and provides a sense of hopelessness.

The black fence in the background — known as the "Tortilla Curtain" — was built in 1979 in an effort to keep immigrants out of El Paso. It was met with great criticism, not only because people feel it cost a lot of tax payer's money to build it, but also because it is dark, impersonal and looms over border life on both sides.

If you look closely, you’ll see the lights and cameras rising high, looking for action. These borderlines speak loudly without making a sound.
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The U.S. - Mexican Border: El Camino Real

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May 9, 2015 —
Route 28 from El Paso to Mesilla is also known as El Camino Real. On my second day home, my sister Elisa and I drove on El Camino Real towards Mesilla, which is a historic neighborhood abutting Las Cruces, NM. I've traveled on this road along the border of Texas and New Mexico many times, but this time I was struck with this sign overlooking this mass patch of dirt that at one time was a raging river.
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The Southwest - From El Paso to Arizona

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May 10, 2015 — My travels take me from El Paso to Phoenix, by way of I-10. 🚙

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Phoenix, Arizona: Roosevelt Row & The Gentrification Factor

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Roosevelt_Row_PX

May 11, 2015 —
I arrive in Phoenix, AZ on May 11th and my son José, who lives there, takes me to Roosevelt Row. This neighborhood borders Downtown Phoenix and is lined with funky artists studios, coffee shops and community gardens. I especially love all the colorful murals on many of the buildings.
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The U.S. - Mexican Border: Tucson, Arizona

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May 12, 2015 —
These crosses are piled high in the front room of Derechos Humanos when I arrived at this South Tucson nonprofit organization, where my pal Mel takes me the day I arrive. This scene immediately sends chills up my spine.
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The U.S.- Mexican Border: Arivaca, Arizona

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May 13, 2015 —
On my second day in Tucson, Joel Smith, operations manager for Humane Borders, a non-profit humanitarian organization based in Tucson, take me and Mel out on a desert run. We met him at the organization's headquarters at 5:00 a.m. ready to roll on what turned out to be another long and emotional day for me.


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Flying Across Borders - Back to Rhode Island

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May 15, 2015 — At the end of my first trip visiting border towns, I sit in the plane looking out at this view as I cross many borders back to Rhode Island, looking forward to continuing this journey about borders.

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