"Borders can be viewed as solid walls that limit, confine and separate. Borders between cultures, races, nations, sexes and classes may function to keep people divided from one another... On the other hand, borders can be seen as meeting-places that offer a unique opportunity for encounter, dialogue and sharing. They may serve as the place of interface between peoples, ideas, and experiences." -Patricia J Lloyd-Sidle "Called to be Border: A Paradigm for Mission", 1989

The Rio Grande marks the division between the US and Latin America, a division often beset by conflict and misunderstanding. However, the Rio Grande has been a meeting place as well as a dividing line. It is a place where the US and Latin America blend language and culture, a place where global neighbors interact.

The Border Witness Program hosts educational tours of the Rio Grande Valley, learning about issues such as free trade, political asylum for refugees, and the health and environment along the RGV. They visit refugee shelters, detention centers, colonias, and other organizations along the border. Through direct and personal contact, delegations learn the stories of the people and communities facing poverty, oppression and the challenges of living on the frontera.

The Mission of Border Witness

Border Witness works as a bridge that connects the reality of the people living in the Rio Grande Valley with those who wish to understand it.

It is the Mission of the Border Witness:

  • to assist people in understanding the reality of the border (the struggles, achievements, and challenges- economic, social, cultural, spiritual) through direct experience and personal contact;

  • to give voice to the people, families, and communities who struggle to surmount oppression and assert their dignity;

  • to serve as an educational resource in building capacity by opening eyes, studying the reality and the system that perpetuates it, and promoting action in the issues that face the community.

ARISE Border Witness groups ordinarily consist of 5 to 20 persons with a minimum of 5 people. For more information on the border witness program contact Ramona Casas at (956) 783-6959 or