A few days ago, I pulled into Tucson, Arizona—my home base for the next few weeks as I focus on immigration/detention center based work for the next couple months. The last detention center I worked in was up in Tacoma, Washington—where I have been told by a number of people that it is a "resort" compared to the detention facilities down along the US/Mexico border. I'll be spending the next handful of weeks learning as much as possible about immigration in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. I'll be spending time at the Florence/Eloy detention facilities in southern Arizona; working with the Santa Fe Dreamers Project; and then hopefully wrapping up in Dilley, Texas at one of the largest detention facilities in the country. It should be quite a next couple of months.
In addition to spending time working at different detention facilities/legal orgs, I will be laying the groundwork of building the Virtual Law Office I will be opening later this spring. The average day for me may look like spending the morning/afternoon doing pro bono work, and the remainder of the day working on the VLO/other work related to the new law office. I'm hopeful that my time along the border the next couple months will help inform not only the types of services that will be offered through the VLO, but also hopefully connect me with the communities here that are working on these issues so I may continue to help lend a hand in my future work. I'm excited for this new phase of Attorney on the Move, and as always, am super grateful for all your support!
As for what I've been up to since the holidays—let's just first say that I primarily took a much needed break. Holy moly. Confession: the last 6 months on the road have been a bit of a struggle for me in terms of work/life balance. Especially the last couple months when I was in Montana through Window Rock, Arizona. After a conversation w/a good friend last night, perhaps a reason I threw myself into my work extra hard the last couple months was because I was living in some areas that didn't have much of a progressive community. So, I think I partly rationalized the extra work as a way to somehow stay "connected" during some tougher times.
But the last week off for the holidays definitely reiterated a very important theme: self-care is freaking important. It reminds me of a quote that I heard numerous times over the years:
Indeed. It was really easy to shrug off the self-care aspect at times: "Oh, I don't have time for that." "Ehhhh, I'll get to it later." But here's the deal: no one else is going to prioritize you, but well, you.
So, I made an effort to unplug as much as possible during the holidays. I spent time roaming around canyons that are half the age of the earth; exploring and learning about Ancestral Puebloan ruins—and there are literally thousands of them—all over the Four Corners area; I saw Arizonian mining towns from the turn of the last century; and drove into modern day Tucson—another growing metropolis in this country. The decades of history were a solid backdrop for me to do more introspection about my current work: how has history affected these communities today? I feel that immersing myself in this history can hopefully only make me a stronger social justice advocate and attorney—it is important for me to know the journey of a community.
And, having some much needed down time allowed me to reemerge with the following self-care commitments (me stating this publicly helps my accountability, methinks): :-)
- I will be working generally from 8 am - 6 pm during the week wherever I am—with evenings only on special work functions/meetings.
- I will also be taking quarterly breaks from work to decompress/recharge for the journey ahead—same thing goes for taking advantage of long holiday weekends (after all, I am in this for the long haul!).
- Some of the work that I am doing has me a bit isolated (ahem, e.g. the last couple months in Montana through Northern Arizona). I care very much about my connections/relationships and would love/need to connect even more! (ps: you can always hit "reply" on this—I'd love to hear from you!).
Those are a few of my major commitments moving forward. Self-care = very important.
And on that note—I hope these first few days of the New Year find you well. I am excited at all that lies ahead—here's to moving forward! How are these first few days of 2016 going???