Two clowns juggle clubs past a volunteer

What Does It Mean To Be “Without Borders”?

By now, most news outlets in the United States are reporting on the caravan of migrants who have traveled from Central America into Mexico. Some, but not all, of the migrants intend to continue on to the U.S.

CWB – USA first became aware of the caravan when it passed through Chiapas, a region with which the organization shares a deep relationship. CWB’s first and one-hundredth tours were to Chiapas, with tours returning to the region each year for the past 20 years. Knowing that the caravan was boldly discarding the idea of national borders, especially as it passed through a region that has fought for autonomous recognition, prompted CWB – USA to consider the ways in which the organization’s work is “without borders.”

Two Clown Me In performers
Photo by Rami Ahmad

CWB clowns willingly cross national borders to reach communities effected by crisis. They go to places that are deemed too dangerous for humanitarian aid, they walk down dirt roads to reach isolated communities, and they perform in the middle of forests because that’s where some people have to live. The very act of clowning, of encountering someone from a place of non-judgement, opens the borders of the heart. And as many of the community members we’ve engaged with tell us, the borderless heart of a clown creates a safe space for other people to open their hearts, too.

The communities we engage with and perform for are often borderless people. Perhaps a natural disaster has erased their house and livelihood. Or maybe the global history of empire and colonialism has made a secure and dignified life impossible in their home country. These migrants, refugees and asylum seekers disregard borders because they know that humans have a right to be safe and secure, no matter who they are or where they’re from. And they’re determined to find that safety and security regardless of lines on a piece of paper.

 

 

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