Screen shot from YouTube site that has video of Los Pikadientes de Caborca
I’ve been doing a masters program at USC that specializes in online social networks, so I’m always thrilled when that topic merges with my long-standing interest in border subjects.
Vozmob, or Mobile Voices, is a project that provides a platform for low-wage immigrants in Los Angeles to publish stories and photos about their lives and communities through cell phones. The idea is that “marginalized populations lack access to digital technology yet aspire to participate meaningfully in the digital public sphere,” according to a project summary.
Here is an interview with USC professor Francois Bar, who explains the project in more depth.
Meanwhile USC professor Josh Kun recently wrote in The New York Times about how cell phones are creating new conduits for Mexican regional bands. The songs are uploaded to the phones or are used as ring tones. Then they spread virally through communities, underscoring how the regional Mexican industry is utilizing the cell phone as a “one-stop music source and symbol of working-class immigrant identity,” according to Kun’s story.
Kun, an expert in border culture topics, profiles the success of one of these bands, Los Pikadientes de Caborca, one of whose members readily admits that “we wouldn’t exist without cell phones and ring tones.”
* I work for USC’s media relations department but haven’t worked directly with these two professors *
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged border, cell phones, francois bar, immigrants, josh kun, los angeles, mexico, migrants, mobile voices, music, pikadientes de caborca, Tijuana, vozmob
There’s a tendency for us to get somewhat myopic about immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border. We forget that these complex issues are playing out in other parts of the world in different yet equally-dramatic fashions. NPR ran a three-part series this week about race and politics in Europe (access it here) that looks at how immigrants are changing the demographics of countries like Italy, Germany and France. Over there, immigrants from Africa have to cross the sea to get to Europe. Closer to home, we have the border fence. I drove out to Playas de Tijuana this week to see how fortification there is changing the landscape. The photo at the top of this post shows older and newer fence sections. The photo below is of “Smuggler’s Gulch” where truckloads of dirt have created the equivalent of the Great Wall of China in what was once a hollow section of the border:
Construction has started along Friendship Park, a part of the border that overlooks the ocean where families on both sides of the border have traditionally gathered to have picnics and converse through gaps in the older section of the fence. Here is a photo of what I saw looking into the United States park from the Mexican side. I’m not seeing so many amigos there:
To read a recent story about the construction going on along the San Diego border, you can read this story by Los Angeles Times reporter Richard Marosi. To learn more about the fate of Friendship Park, here is an Associated Press article by Elliot Spagat and another piece by San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Leslie Berenstein. Also, fellow blogger Kinsee Morlan shares a video of the fence in her blog, Stairs to Nowhere.
***Update: Randal Archibold of The New York Times has a story about a border plan to address environmental harm along the border fence area. You can read it here. ***
Posted in Musings, News & current events
Tagged Baja California, border fence, illegal immigrants, immigrants, immigration, kinsee morlan, mexico, npr, Tijuana, undocumented immigrants