Activate Tucson: Immigration Justice

2015 Activate participants with members of Scholarships AZ, a BorderLinks partner.

Don’t just learn about justice — do justice!

This one-week training for high school youth offers interactive social justice education and meaningful work engaging in the pressing issue of immigration justice. Based in the borderlands of southern Arizona, we’ll learn about the issues, and engage in powerful life-saving work like renewing water caches for migrants  in the desert. In a program grounded in UU values and practices, participants will develop skills for producing social change through community engagement, reflection on issues of race and class, and advocacy in their home communities.

This program will run from April 15-21, 2017.

Youth who attended high school during the 2016–2017 school year are invited to attend.

How to apply

To join this program, you will need to submit an application and a reference form by Wednesday, February 1st, 2017. Once both parts of your application have been received, you will receive a response within two weeks.

Apply Now!
Additionally, you must ask a trusted adult to serve as a reference for you. If you attend a UU or other religious congregation, we request that this reference be your minister or your director of religious education. If you do not attend a congregation, this reference should be a adult who is not a relative, and who can speak to your personality and leadership development. Teachers, coaches, and supervisors are all good options. When asking an adult to be your reference, send them this link with more information and the reference form:

Cost and Financial Assistance

The full cost of this program is $850 per participant. Financial assistance is available by application for those with demonstrated financial need. With financial assistance, this program’s direct cost is as low as $225.

If you would like to be considered for financial assistance, be sure to fill out the relevant questions on the application. Financial aid is contingent on the availability of funding, and is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Cost includes lodging, food, supervision, and all programming. Cost does not include transportation to and from Tucson.

Program Highlights
  • We’ll experience what it feels like to walk through the borderlands, by placing water caches in the Sonoran desert for migrants in need. This powerful, hands-on work will be guided by No More Deaths, a humanitarian aid organization and ministry of the UU Church of Tucson
  • We’ll meet with founding members of the Sanctuary Movement, a campaign that began in the 1980s to provide safe havens for refugee migrants, and which continues to this day
  • We’ll have workshops exploring our own identities in terms of race, class, gender, and sexuality, and discuss what it means to be an advocate and an ally
  • We’ll attend an Operation Streamline hearing and meet with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to understand what U.S. immigration policies look like in action
Accommodations and Supervision

Participants will stay primarily at BorderLinks’ headquarters in Tucson, Ariz., which has dormitory-style housing with bunk beds and provided linens. There is an on-site kitchen where BorderLinks staff will prepare meals for participants.

This is an active program. Participants will be supervised by adult staff overnight and during the day for the duration of the program.


Who is Dayani Cristal?, a film by Gael García Bernal and Marc Silver, which tells the story of a migrant’s own journey to cross the border

Help us spread the word! Check back soon for a downloadable flyer and Facebook image.

Watch this great video that highlights participants’ reflections from 2013’s youth justice training in Boston.


BorderLinks is a binational, nonprofit educational organization at the U.S.-Mexico border. The organization focuses on cross-border relationship-building opportunities, immigration issues, community formation and development, and social justice in the borderlands between Mexico, the United States, and beyond. BorderLinks has extensive experience designing programs, and nearly 1,000 individuals participate annually in BorderLinks learning opportunities.