University of Arizona

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'Reclaiming the Border Narrative' receives $1.18 million grant

'Reclaiming the Border Narrative' receives $1.18 million grant

Special Collections, in partnership with the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry, was awarded $1.18 million by the Ford Foundation to develop and support a community-led digital archive for the Reclaiming the Border Narrative: Storytelling and Cultural Power for Migrant Justice.

The Ford Foundation's initiative "supports authentic storytelling by affected communities on the cultures and socio-political dynamics that compromise the region, by providing funding to immigrant rights advocates, artists, writers, and organizations to organize and preserve stories reflecting the dignity and truth of border communities, connecting, and empowering them to center their own narrative on their terms and in their voices."

As the archival partner for the project, our goal is to establish and enhance long lasting relationships with the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Borealis Philanthropy, and their respective 48 sub-grantees.

Strong relationships will serve to sustain the archive by helping it evolve and take new forms to meet partner needs over time. Special Collections recognizes our role as facilitators in the creation and activation of a digital space for border communities’ cultural resources, expressions, and contributions that have been the source of survival, resistance, and continuity, and have been largely ignored or exploited by institutions of higher education. We intend to elevate these communities’ efforts, experiences, realities, and the creative and intellectual processes in sustainable ways such that their presence, contributions, and cultural resources are not only acknowledged but fundamental to the advancement of our institutions of higher learning.

Thank you to all across the libraries who are taking part of this important project. A key aspect of the project is dissemination and socialization of the project’s aim. Speaking at the Arizona Senior Academy provided us a fruitful opportunity to discuss Special Collections’ role and relationships with community archives in supporting the advancement of their goals related to memory work.

In partnership with community archives, we work to close the gap in our historical record and reclaim the narrative of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Read the original press release.

​​Photo: Verónica Reyes-Escudero, Katheryne B. Willock Head of Special Collections, University of Arizona Libraries (left); Javier D. Durán, Professor of Spanish and Border Studies and Director of the Confluence Center for Creative Inquiry, University of Arizona

Veronica Reyes-Escudero standing next to Javier Duran in front of a building