Today on 30 Minutes, our Multipart series continues with immigration attorney and community leader Margo Cowan discussing Community Organizing and Legal Justice in the Borderlands. Migrant Trail Organizing Committee member and lecturer from Austin, Texas, Olivia Mena introduced Margo Cowan.
Margo Cowan has been an advocate for migrant justice for more than 30 years and has been involved with the Migrant Trail since its first journey in 2004. Before becoming an attorney, she was a farmworker organizer mentored by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. Margo’s efforts in the areas of border and immigration policy, as well as the development and representation of undocumented persons and refugees, has spanned decades. She is a Defense Attorney for the Pima County Public Defender, was the lead counsel for the Sanctuary movement, where churches and synagogues offered sanctuary to the undocumented facing deportation and co-founded the organization No More Deaths, that seeks to reduce the number of deaths in the Arizona Desert.
She is also the Project Coordinator for Keep Tucson Together, a grassroots, pro-bono project that is working directly with community members to stop deportations and the separation of families in Southern Arizona.
Margo shared history and perspective on the power of community organization in the legal fight for justice in the borderlands.
Since 2004, a group of committed people has coordinated an annual week-long, 75-mile walk from Sásabe, Sonora, Mexico to Tucson, Arizona to call for an end to migrant deaths along the U.S.-Mexico border and to stand in solidarity with victims of global migration. In May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, participants were unable to physically unite to remember those who have died crossing
To continue to raise awareness about migrant deaths and to help raise money for local border justice organizations, organizers launched an alternative Migrant Trail Walk experience to bring people together in a virtual environment. Proceeds benefitted: BorderLinks, the O’Odham Anti-Border Collective, Keep Tucson Together, and the No More Deaths Emergency COVID-19 Bond Fund. The Migrant Trail 2020 Alternative experience included a week of daily reflections, videos, podcasts, and featured speakers.
Edited and produced by Amanda Shauger with audio provided by the Migrant Trail Organizing Committee.