BROWNSVILLE, Texas (Border Report) — Xan Joi drives one of the most recognizable vehicles in the Journey for Justice humanitarian caravan as it makes its way along the entire 2,000-mile Southwest border.
“This is called my Radical Ride Baby. My RRB,” Joi, 72, of Berkeley, California, told Border Report as the caravan launched from South Texas earlier this month.
She has hand-painted all of the designs on the boxy truck. Two 14-foot billboards are painted on either side of the truck, as is an 8-foot-tall billboard on the back.
She has listed the names of missing brown, Black and Indigenous women. She also rails against war, police and pesticides in food, and she shows visible support for refugees and migrants seeking asylum.
Nearly every inch is painted. Still, she says she “doesn’t have enough room to say all she has to say.”
She bought the truck in December 1999 and after 9/11, she said she wanted to voice her opposition to war and any retaliation for the attacks that she thought the country would do.
The first words she painted were “Thou Shalt Not Kill” on the back of the truck “because I knew we were going to war,” she told Border Report.
The truck now has 475,000 miles and she has put 1,200 more miles on it during the trip, so far. She calls them “protest” or “action miles.”
The caravan of about 40 vehicles is in Nogales, Arizona, and is headed to Sasabe, Arizona, on Wednesday. They are slated to arrive in San Ysidro, California, on the border with Tijuana, Mexico, on Friday night. The grassroots group Witness at the Border is organizing the trip.
The coronavirus pandemic grounded her and her truck for a couple of years. She says this is her first big outing since the virus first struck.
She says she hopes her vehicle will get spotted and bring attention and cause people to think about current issues.
“Why are we doing this? I’m so angry and I’m so mad that we are building this wall all the way across our border with Mexico, not with Canada, of course, but with Mexico and contributing to the deaths of so many people Not just people who are trying to come here but the people who are trying to escape their countries,” she said.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com