Reflection shared after Issues Night at the “Trotando Pasos Ajenos: Social Justice and Inequalities in the Borderlands” exhibit by Meredith Severtson, 2017-2018 BSCer serving with Doña Ana Communities United in Las Cruces, NM.
For December Issues Night BSC members and friends attended the “Trotando Pasos Ajenos,” an exhibit at the Branigan Cultural Center in Las Cruces. Curators Dulcinea Lara and Nicholas Natividad, both professors in NMSU’s department of criminal justice, led a discussion on their process of developing the exhibit, which aims to illuminate issues of inequality and social justice in the Borderlands. The exhibit’s installations encourage viewers to explore their own identities through interactive mapping, mirrors, and guided questions. We were lucky to have a group diverse in race, physical ability, ethnicity, national origin, and immigration status in attendance, which led to a rich discussion on how work tackling thorny issues of social justice, no matter how well-intentioned, often struggle to be truly inclusive. Stark binaries like black-white, rich-poor, and male-female, which were sometimes used in the exhibit, fail to encompass the lived experience of most individuals. Dulcinea and Nick acknowledged these truths in discussion, and were open about their struggles to create an exhibit that came as close as possible to representing the diversity of experiences in the Borderlands. We are grateful for their dedication, thoughtfulness, and courage in bringing these issues front and center in their work.