The bulk of my research begins later this week, as I embark on a three-week and four thousand-mile journey driving from San Francisco (home!) to Austin. I will be stopping in cities and border towns along the way and meeting with various organizations and individuals who are involved with every aspect of immigrants’ rights. The month of August promises to be enlightening and exciting, but getting to the point where that’s the case has been difficult to say the least.
With the prospect of such an undertaking hanging over me and a ticking clock, I’ve spent the month of July in my Brooklyn apartment trying to make sure that my behemoth road trip will not be a waste of time and energy. This has meant literally hundreds of emails—and several phone calls—as well as endless Googling as I’ve tried to ensure that no stone remains unturned. Along the way I’ve made several important discoveries:
- There are so many wonderful groups of people doing myriad diverse things to advocate for the rights of migrants and to provide services to this group that encountering all of them would be impossible, and I suppose that’s a good thing!
- It seems that conducting effective research requires considerable resilience; after going through intensive research protocols to prove the value of my research to several organizations, a couple of them got back to me saying that my research sounded valuable and interesting but that unfortunately they didn’t accept undergraduate researchers. Bouncing back was difficult but necessary.
- Often, one things leads to another. Over half of the places I will be visiting came to my knowledge as a result of other connections I had already made. This kind of interconnectedness within the community of activists I’m entering is incredibly inspiring.
- Emailing gets extremely boring, but it’s important legwork that you have to do to make the hands on part of your research worth its weight. And finally, I’m done and ready to jump into my trip head-on.
More to come soon from the road!