The Kino Border Initiative, a Jesuit ministry on the U.S.-Mexico border, will be honored with a “Legacy of the Martyrs” Award from the Ignatian Solidarity Network on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in recognition of their ongoing commitment to affirming the dignity of those who migrate through accompaniment, advocacy, and education. The awards are part of ISN’s year-long commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Jesuits’ deaths, which kicked off with a delegation to El Salvador comprised of Jesuit institution representatives from across the U.S.
The Kino Border Initiative (KBI) is a bi-national organization that works in the area of migration and is located in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. The KBI was inaugurated in January of 2009 by six organizations from the United States and Mexico: The California Province of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist, the Mexican Province of the Society of Jesus, the Diocese of Tucson, and the Archdiocese of Hermosillo.
The KBI’s vision is to help make humane, just, workable migration between the U.S. and Mexico a reality. Its mission is to promote U.S./Mexico border and immigration policies that affirm the dignity of the human person and a spirit of bi-national solidarity through direct humanitarian assistance and accompaniment with migrants; social and pastoral education with communities on both sides of the border; and participation in collaborative networks that engage in research and advocacy to transform local, regional, and national immigration policies.
“The Kino Border Initiative is doing tremendous work to respond to the needs of those marginalized by our current border reality in U.S. and Mexico,” said Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network. Kerr continued, “Like the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador, KBI is striving for a more just world. Their commitment to not just meet the immediate needs of those who migrate, but also to engage in advocacy that can bring about systemic change is so important as our country grapples with the need for comprehensive immigration reform.”
“We are very honored to receive this award from the Ignatian Solidarity Network,” said Rev. Sean Carroll, S.J., executive director of the Kino Border Initiative. “This recognition motivates us to continue to serve as a humanizing presence on the U.S.-Mexico border and to foster bi-national solidarity on the issue of migration, through humanitarian aid, education and research/advocacy.”
Other award winners have included Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-2) and Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación (ERIC) y Radio Progreso, both Jesuit human rights ministries in Honduras.
The Ignatian Solidarity Network is a direct product of the Jesuit martyrs’ legacy, founded as a by-product of what is now ISN’s largest yearly program, the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice. The Teach-In commemorates the lives of the Jesuits and lay women each November and took place from 1997 until 2009 in Columbus, Georgia, to coincide with a massive grassroots peace vigil that called attention to the role of U.S. military intervention in Central America. In 2010, the Teach-In moved to Washington, D.C. and has become one of the largest Catholic social justice conferences in the country. Today, ISN serves over sixty member institutions and tens of thousands of individuals, especially high school and college students and young adults who are passionate about human rights and environmental justice issues.