Unit 4 Destination Discussion - Arizona/Mexico

Advance preparation: Members of the group should view the film, Harvest of Empire before gathering for this session; and read Chapter 6 of Undocumented, by Aviva Chomsky.

Invite members of the group to spend a few minutes in silent reflection about the film, and to write down a few notes in answer to these questions:

  • When you think of the film Harvest of Empire, what are the scenes or images that you find most memorable or haunting?
  • What did you find most striking, revelatory, painful or inspiring about the film?


After this time of reflection, invite participants to share with the group some of their insights, impressions and feelings. Some or all of the following questions may be useful for this conversation:

  •  Did any of the moments of emotional intensity you identified change the way you perceive the problems and political struggles around immigration policy?
  • What seems to you the most important take-away from this film – that is, the insight, reminder or new information that feels most crucial?

Ask a member of the group to read this paragraph aloud:

[blockquote]The UU commitment to human rights is deeply rooted in our religious heritage. The Universalist message from the very beginning emphasized that all people have value, and that the saving power of divine love recognizes no eternal distinctions between them. The early Unitarians rejected the doctrines of original sin and absolute depravity, and replaced them with a faith in the human capacity to bring good into the world. This theological inheritance is reflected in our seven principles today, from our first principle of the inherent worth and dignity of all people, down to our last principle of respect for the independent web of existence.[/blockquote]

  • In what ways can this inheritance of ideas provide guidance to us today in grappling with the issues posed by the film?

Invite the group to listen to this song, “La Bestia,” which was created by U.S. Customs as propaganda to discourage immigration but ended up becoming an unexpected pop hit in Latin America. This link to the song via YouTube includes an English translation on the screen as the song plays:

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Heather Vickery is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with UU congregations, State Action Networks, past UU College of Social Justice (UUCSJ) program participants, and regional staff in order to expand engagement in UUSC and UUCSJ’s work. As the Coordinator for Congregational Activism, she manages the workshop offerings and group visits to the UUSC/UUCSJ office and assists with communications for the Activism and Justice Education Team. Heather is an active member of the Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network and a dedicated dog-mom to her rescue puppy Nova.

Heather may be contacted at hvickery@uucsj.org and 617-301-4303