Despite getting nearly $2 billion for border walls from Congress in 2017 and 2018, Trump declared an “emergency” in early 2019 to divert billions more from military spending, conjuring images of desolation and lawlessness at the US-Mexico border.

Trump’s narrative stands in stark contrast to the reality: the border is home to vibrant communities, biodiverse landscapes, and rare wildlife and these are all threatened by the construction of a border wall.  

Rachel’s Network today announced new funding for the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) to amplify the voices of those at the border.

“The dominant stories being told about the border are misleading at best and flat lies at worst,” said Rachel’s Network President Fern Shepard. “The only way to cut through the noise is to hand a megaphone to the people at the border so they can tell their stories. We’re proud to fund two groups that are doing just that.”

CBD will use the funds to educate the media and the public about the places and people threatened by the border wall through social media, investigative journalism, public art projects, and videos like their 15-part Border Views series:

“Trump’s senseless wall would destroy one of our country’s most spectacular, biodiverse regions,” said Laiken Jordahl, CBD Borderlands Campaigner. “People who live in the borderlands already know this, but we’re committed to making sure the rest of the world knows it, too. Our partnership with Rachel’s Network will allow us to dig deeper and fight harder against Trump’s deranged border policies and ensure that people across the country understand what’s really at stake when it comes to the border wall.”

TCRP is producing the virtual reality (VR) film Border Stories which will place viewers in South Texas to experience the impact of the border wall and the ongoing fight to stop it. The film premiered at South by Southwest in March 2019 and will travel to other events and venues around the country.

“TCRP traces its roots to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, a vibrant, bicultural and bilingual part of our country that this president has attacked and vilified since the inception of his campaign,” said Efrén C. Olivares, TCRP Racial & Economic Justice Legal Director. “Since taking office, his administration has militarized our community more than ever before. We are extremely grateful for this partnership with Rachel’s Network, which will allow us to double down on our commitment to the border, and will help us amplify our capacity to reach communities around the country. We continue to work on behalf of immigrants, against family separations, and against the border wall in South Texas.”

These partnerships follow past funding that Rachel’s Network granted to the Sierra Club in 2017 and TCRP in 2018. Those projects supported a coalition of anti-wall nonprofits and helped border landowners fight the wall in court. In total, Rachel’s Network has granted over $100,000 to fight the border wall. Members also took an educational tour of the Arizona border in 2017.

Rachel’s Network, a nonprofit organization named in Rachel Carson’s honor, promotes women as impassioned leaders and agents of change dedicated to the stewardship of the earth. The Network builds productive alliances among members and offers services that empower them to lead.

The Center for Biological Diversity believes that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, they work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. They do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

The Texas Civil Rights Project is Texas lawyers for Texas communities, boldly serving the movement for equality and justice in and out of the courts. TCRP believes that legal advocacy and litigation are critical tools to protect and advance the civil rights of everyone in Texas, particularly the state’s most vulnerable populations, and to effect positive and lasting change to law and policy. TCRP believes that by serving the rising social justice movement in Texas with excellent legal representation and bold strategies, they can respond to the needs of the communities they serve.

Photo Credit: Joseph Yaroch/Southern New Mexico New Progressives

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