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Tucson - Borderlands

From: Al Letson
Series: State of the Re:Union Fall 2012
Length: 53:53

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Tucson sits in the borderlands, the desert landscape where America and Mexico meet. This place is crisscrossed by boundaries, visible and invisible—from the US border wall that cuts the Sonoran desert in half, to live-wire political divides in Tucson itself. In this episode, we tell stories about what happens when people cross borders, risking their lives and their reputations to take a chance on the other side. Read the full description.

Sotrupromo_small State of the Re:Union - Tucson, Arizona - Borderlands

Description:
Tucson sits in the borderlands, the desert landscape where America and Mexico meet.  This place is crisscrossed by boundaries, visible and invisible—from the US border wall that cuts the Sonoran desert in half, to live-wire political divides in Tucson itself.   In this episode, we tell stories about what happens when people cross borders, risking their lives and their reputations to take a chance on the other side. 


Billboard (:59)
Incude: "I'm Al Letson and you're"
Outcue: "...first this news"

News Hole: 1:00-6:00

SEGMENT A (12:29)
Incue:" I'm Al Letson and this…"
Outcue: ahead on State of the Re:Union


A-1. The Fence
When Bill Odle moved to a piece of land right on the border, there was only a barbed wire fence separating him from his closest neighbor in Mexico.  Now, a fourteen-foot border wall cuts across the mountain landscape.  But does it actually stop anyone from crossing? 

A-2.  The Crossing: Lost in the Desert (Part 1)
There’s no other morgue in the US with the grim expertise of the one in Tucson.  That’s because just outside of the city, hundreds of bodies are found in the desert every year:  migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and other places who dared to cross this rugged stretch of border because it’s more difficult for the U.S. to police.  They die of thirst, of exposure, just a car-ride away from the city.  Their bodies often lie undiscovered until they’re nothing but a bleached pile of bones. Who were these people, in life? Who are their families?  In this story we meet the team at the morgue in Tucson charged with identifying the dead, and returning remains to families who, in some cases, have waited for years for some word of their loved one.  


SEGMENT B (18:59)
Incue: "You're listening to …"
Outcue: "State of the Re:Union"

B-1. The Crossing:  Chayo (Part 2)
In January of 2012, Robin Riggins’ best friend Marie Dorantes—who goes by the nickname Chayo—was deported to Mexico.  Chayo had lived in Los Angeles for more than twenty years.  Her three sons were born here.  There seemed to be no other choice than to try to cross back to the place she considered home.  In February, Chayo called to say she was about to set out on foot from Altár Sonora, and cross the Arizona desert.  But she never arrived in Tucson.  Told in Robin’s words, this is Chayo’s story.


B-2.  Mission San Xavier
Not every walk in the desert ends in tragedy.  In this story, we meet a man on his monthly pilgrimage from the Yaqui Indian Reservation to the Mission San Xavier, a holy site founded by the Spanish over 400 years ago. 

B-3.  The Gleaners
About ten years ago, environmental scientist Barbara Eiswerth noticed a strange problem in Tucson: a rainbow of fruit from all over the world, planted as landscaping in the city’s backyards, was rotting in the gutters.  The harvest from each tree—sometimes up to 1,000 pounds of fruit—was too overwhelming for any one family to handle.  Barbara was determined to find a way to save this bounty from the landfill.  So she dreamed up a magical partnership between the homeowners of Tucson and the one group of people who not only wanted to help with the harvest, but needed the connection the land: refugees, far from their rural homelands.

SEGMENT C (18:59)
Incue: "I'm Al Letson and ..."
Outcue: "This is N-P-R"

C-1. Beyond Banned Books.
In January of 2012, Arizona enacted a law that effectively dismantled Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican-American studies program, in a move the New York Times called blackmail, since “keeping the program would have meant losing more than $14 million in state funding.”   Most media coverage of the controversy focused on the reign of conservative anti-immigration politics in the liberal city of Tucson.  But as State of the Re:Union dug into the politics on the ground in Tucson, we found a different story, one that didn’t break down along the usual liberal / conservative lines.  Some students and teachers were passionate about Mexican-American studies (MAS), saying the program changed lives.  But others said MAS indoctrinated students, and squelched dissent.  In this story, we meet people who were forced by the controversy to question their political loyalties—and paid a price for crossing divides.

C-2. Star Party!
There’s no way around it: life on the ground is complicated.  But there’s one group of people in Tucson who’ve found a way to escape the controversy that seems to unfold constantly on the ground… by looking up.  We look through the telescopes of amateur astronomers in Tucson at a once-in-a-lifetime “star party.”

C-3.  Wrap-up / Montage
Al closes the episode with a meditation on crossing borders, and how the borderlands have shaped Tucson’s identity.

PROGRAM OUT @ 59:00

Broadcast Window Begins 09/28/2012

The Fall 2012 Season of State of the Re:Union (SOTRU) will be available September 28, 2012 on PRX and the Content Depot without charge to all public radio stations, and may be aired an unlimited number of times prior to December 31, 2012. The program may be streamed live on station websites but not archived. Excerpting is permitted for promotional purposes only.

Thanks for your consideration of State of the Re:Union with Al Letson. Please contact your NPR Stations relations person or Joan Miller @ joanadrienne@gmail.com with questions or to confirm carriage.

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Piece Description

State of the Re:Union - Tucson, Arizona - Borderlands

Description:
Tucson sits in the borderlands, the desert landscape where America and Mexico meet.  This place is crisscrossed by boundaries, visible and invisible—from the US border wall that cuts the Sonoran desert in half, to live-wire political divides in Tucson itself.   In this episode, we tell stories about what happens when people cross borders, risking their lives and their reputations to take a chance on the other side. 


Billboard (:59)
Incude: "I'm Al Letson and you're"
Outcue: "...first this news"

News Hole: 1:00-6:00

SEGMENT A (12:29)
Incue:" I'm Al Letson and this…"
Outcue: ahead on State of the Re:Union


A-1. The Fence
When Bill Odle moved to a piece of land right on the border, there was only a barbed wire fence separating him from his closest neighbor in Mexico.  Now, a fourteen-foot border wall cuts across the mountain landscape.  But does it actually stop anyone from crossing? 

A-2.  The Crossing: Lost in the Desert (Part 1)
There’s no other morgue in the US with the grim expertise of the one in Tucson.  That’s because just outside of the city, hundreds of bodies are found in the desert every year:  migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and other places who dared to cross this rugged stretch of border because it’s more difficult for the U.S. to police.  They die of thirst, of exposure, just a car-ride away from the city.  Their bodies often lie undiscovered until they’re nothing but a bleached pile of bones. Who were these people, in life? Who are their families?  In this story we meet the team at the morgue in Tucson charged with identifying the dead, and returning remains to families who, in some cases, have waited for years for some word of their loved one.  


SEGMENT B (18:59)
Incue: "You're listening to …"
Outcue: "State of the Re:Union"

B-1. The Crossing:  Chayo (Part 2)
In January of 2012, Robin Riggins’ best friend Marie Dorantes—who goes by the nickname Chayo—was deported to Mexico.  Chayo had lived in Los Angeles for more than twenty years.  Her three sons were born here.  There seemed to be no other choice than to try to cross back to the place she considered home.  In February, Chayo called to say she was about to set out on foot from Altár Sonora, and cross the Arizona desert.  But she never arrived in Tucson.  Told in Robin’s words, this is Chayo’s story.


B-2.  Mission San Xavier
Not every walk in the desert ends in tragedy.  In this story, we meet a man on his monthly pilgrimage from the Yaqui Indian Reservation to the Mission San Xavier, a holy site founded by the Spanish over 400 years ago. 

B-3.  The Gleaners
About ten years ago, environmental scientist Barbara Eiswerth noticed a strange problem in Tucson: a rainbow of fruit from all over the world, planted as landscaping in the city’s backyards, was rotting in the gutters.  The harvest from each tree—sometimes up to 1,000 pounds of fruit—was too overwhelming for any one family to handle.  Barbara was determined to find a way to save this bounty from the landfill.  So she dreamed up a magical partnership between the homeowners of Tucson and the one group of people who not only wanted to help with the harvest, but needed the connection the land: refugees, far from their rural homelands.

SEGMENT C (18:59)
Incue: "I'm Al Letson and ..."
Outcue: "This is N-P-R"

C-1. Beyond Banned Books.
In January of 2012, Arizona enacted a law that effectively dismantled Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican-American studies program, in a move the New York Times called blackmail, since “keeping the program would have meant losing more than $14 million in state funding.”   Most media coverage of the controversy focused on the reign of conservative anti-immigration politics in the liberal city of Tucson.  But as State of the Re:Union dug into the politics on the ground in Tucson, we found a different story, one that didn’t break down along the usual liberal / conservative lines.  Some students and teachers were passionate about Mexican-American studies (MAS), saying the program changed lives.  But others said MAS indoctrinated students, and squelched dissent.  In this story, we meet people who were forced by the controversy to question their political loyalties—and paid a price for crossing divides.

C-2. Star Party!
There’s no way around it: life on the ground is complicated.  But there’s one group of people in Tucson who’ve found a way to escape the controversy that seems to unfold constantly on the ground… by looking up.  We look through the telescopes of amateur astronomers in Tucson at a once-in-a-lifetime “star party.”

C-3.  Wrap-up / Montage
Al closes the episode with a meditation on crossing borders, and how the borderlands have shaped Tucson’s identity.

PROGRAM OUT @ 59:00

Broadcast Window Begins 09/28/2012

The Fall 2012 Season of State of the Re:Union (SOTRU) will be available September 28, 2012 on PRX and the Content Depot without charge to all public radio stations, and may be aired an unlimited number of times prior to December 31, 2012. The program may be streamed live on station websites but not archived. Excerpting is permitted for promotional purposes only.

Thanks for your consideration of State of the Re:Union with Al Letson. Please contact your NPR Stations relations person or Joan Miller @ joanadrienne@gmail.com with questions or to confirm carriage.

Related Website

www.stateofthereunion.com