On November 19 I took my UCSD Latin American Studies students on a trip to visit Border Field State Park, also known as “Friendship Park.” Pedro Rios, director of the San Diego office of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), provided our group a historical overview of the park and the transformation of this section of the border wall. Pedro also shared with us an assessment of the ongoing changes and consequences of intensified anti-immigration rhetoric and enforcement policies.
UCSD LATI 10 students unanimously agreed that the trip was a great experience. They felt that the sharp contrast between our visit to Friendship Park from our earlier visit to Chicano Park was especially informative, considering how they understood that both of these parks are closely linked to the same historical legacy of repression and resistance. As UCSD students who attend classes in La Jolla, it is easy for them to overlook the fact that San Diego is very much “una comunidad trans-fronteriza.” LATI 10 off-campus trips like our visit to Border Field State Park help connect UCSD students with diverse San Diego communities that are not commonly engaged with by more traditional 10-week courses.