Articles, Blog

Arizona Illustrated Episode 603

(rousing guitar music) – [Tom] This week on Arizona Illustrated, The Inn, a welcoming place for migrants. – [Innkeeper] The time that
we are able to spend with them ends up being life-changing. – [Tom] A yoga class
designed for strippers. – [Woman] Stripping gave me
a house, it gave me food, it paid my bills for the last 10 years. – [Tom] And the reserve helping to save the endangered jaguar. (rousing guitar music) Welcome to Arizona
Illustrated, I’m Tom McNamara. In December of 2016, U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement, or ICE, asked United Methodist Churches of Tuscon to house families coming out of detention. Well, this effort has been life-changing for thousands of families
who found temporary shelter and a welcoming path to a new life. Producer David Fenster
visited one location to see what it’s like. This is The Inn. (children chattering) – It’s a huge privilege to
be able to be in that space of welcoming these families. I don’t even know the right
words to use to explain it. I think comparing it to a birth or a death is very, very valid. – [Man] The next step is New Jersey, the house of my uncle. I fly tomorrow in the airplane. I excited to start over a new life here. Prepared for the challenge of the life. (children chattering) – The families that we
are seeing are families that are originating from Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, but also from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, China. These are all families
that have fled their home with a credible fear. It’s a really hard decision, and it’s not the decision that
they wanted to have to make. And so for some, that might have meant flying into Mexico first. For some that may have a
bus journey through Mexico. It might have been a
journey on top of the train. They make it to the Mexican-U.S. border, and then they present
themselves for asylum. Then they are taken
into custody at the port and put in detention, and
then once they determine, okay, yes, this family does qualify to be permitted entry
into the United States to continue the process for asylum, then I receive communication
from immigration, “Do you have space to receive them?” (quiet guitar music)
(families chattering) – My sister started first, and then I started
coming with her to help. I help make beds, I cook meals. I enjoy cooking. I also do some cleaning, and I take families up to get clothing. Our mom raised us to be very open-minded and to be able to help others, whether they’re from here in the U.S. or Guatemala or anywhere. We provide beds for them to
sleep on, showers and towels, food, transportation to the bus station after they’ve talked to their families. As soon as I get here,
I go down the stairs, and I just feel so much better. Just to be able to be here, it
just fills a void in my life. It fills whatever spot
in my heart that’s empty. It just does, it just fills that void. I’m meant to help others, I’m meant to help these
families and children. (children chattering) – We only receive families that have minor children with them, and those are the only families that are being released
by immigration right now. Every one in a while,
there might be a family that it’s a little more
intricate of a situation. So in this case, it is a pregnant mom who was separated from her husband. They’re from China, and
they speak Mandarin. So she came to us and was really
in more of a fragile space, I guess you could say, and
I knew I needed to reach out and try to find someone
that could speak Mandarin. Just trusting on Google
Translate is a little risky. (woman speaking in a foreign language) (baby crying) – I think I was driving
home one day from here, and I was like, why do I feel so full? Why do I, my soul and just
everything, why do I feel so full after my day there at The
Inn with these families? And I felt guilty about that. When you’re with someone
through vulnerability, it takes a lot of trust
and a lot of patience. And these are people of such strength that the time that we are
able to spend with them, that time ends up being life-changing on both the guests as
well as to the volunteers. (calm guitar music)
(singing in foreign language) (footsteps pattering) (family chattering in foreign language) – Yoga is a centuries-old practice and it’s become a more integral part of a healthy lifestyle for many Americans. In Tucson, one local entrepreneur has adopted that practice
for her own health and to help her colleagues, by creating a safe, positive
community for strippers. What you are about to watch contains adult themes of a sexual nature. Due to the sensitive
nature of this content, viewer discretion is advised. (slow electronic music) – There’s the two arguments, right? That stripping is demeaning to women, that it’s anti-feminist,
that it’s promoting the idea that women are pieces of property. And then there’s the other side of it. Sex work is empowering
and it makes you strong. The reality of stripping sits
right in the middle of that. It’s a normal job. To begin to notice your breath. You don’t need to change
your breath, just noticing the way the air feels as it moves in and out of your body. There’s something about us, maybe it’s just a comfort
with our sexuality, or a way we move or a way we interact with other human beings, or whether it be the shorter shorts or this hyper flexibility
or the booties poking out just ’cause that’s the
way we accidentally stand. Take another big inhale,
last cleansing breath, biggest breath you have taken yet today. Fill up your lungs, pause. When my friends from
work would come to see me at the yoga studio I teach
at, they really stood out. Why does twerking make that pose more fun? It really does, right? I just realized that it
would be really nice to have a space where we could just
come together and practice yoga, and maybe if we accidentally
shook our butt a little bit it wouldn’t be shocking to the
whole back row of the class. Our job is very physically
and emotionally demanding in a unique way. – If you are actually a
pole dancer, it’s not easy, it’s not easy for sure. I do it every day, and my
back, everything hurts. So I just feel like yoga is just needed. – Let’s take an inhale, bend your knees slightly and look forward. – The club does a lot of
wear and tear on our bodies, so she designs her sequences
to counteract that. – Nice work, guys. Think about how much a dancer must squat. Even if I gave 10 lap dances in one night, they’re three minutes a piece, think about how much I’m
squatting during that time. We’re standing all the
time, and we’re doing so in six, eight, nine-inch heels. We need more restorative healing poses. So I really wanted to
offer something like that and I also wanted to give the
people coming to Stripper Yoga some hints on how to do some of the more flexible, extreme poses that
people like seeing on stage, how to do them safely and correctly while being mindful their body. A lot of people have been asking
me how Stripper Yoga went, and the answer is that it went incredible! I am so grateful to all of you
wonderful, gorgeous strippers who came and hung out. Thank you to everyone
who showed some support. – When I met her, I literally could not get this smile off my face. She’s literally like a light
that walks in the room. She’s so positive and
she’s so nice to everybody, she’s not judgmental at all. (muffled pop music) – My name is Jessica Kind, I am the founder of Stripper Yoga. I have been teaching yoga
for about four years now. I have been stripping for nearly a decade. When you think about the most
commonly reported nightmares, what’s a totally stereotypical one? Being naked in front of your peers, right? And here we are, we’re
naked in front of our peers and we’re like, “Pay me.” And so we’re living
people’s worst nightmare and we’re literally making
people give us money for it. And if you don’t think that’s epic, I don’t know what’s going on in your head. (calm tranquil music) I come from a really loving family. But we also grew up very poor. I’m sure they wanted to be able
to give me the kind of life where they were gonna pay
for me to go to college or pay for my rent or buy me my first car, it just was never gonna
be an option for them. I first went to a strip
club, I was 16 years old. There were people on stage
just doing their own thing, lots of different styles,
music, enthusiasm, and in my 16-year-old mind
I saw these girls on stage, shaking it and making, at
that time I worked at Denny’s, a significant amount of money. And so that light clicked on in my head, that that could be
something that I could do when I turned 18, it was an option for me. And I just thought I was gonna go in there and I was gonna to be the
hottest, coolest girl ever. I’m 18 and I just think
I’m gonna go in there and just rock everyone’s world, and that’s just not the way it goes down when you’re a baby stripper. I went in there and I tripped a bunch, and was awkward and
weird and wasted my time. And me being as friendly as I
am, I was just in there like, hey girls, you wanna be my best friend? And they’re like, “I’m trying to work.” It was all uphill from there. Lean forward, push your
right shoulder back and then maybe look over
your right shoulder. Be gentle, it’s very early in practice. The stripping gave me an option. It gave me a house, it gave me food, it paid my bills for the last 10 years. It gave me boundaries, I still have really strong boundaries. It’s given me the best
friendships I’ve ever had. – I have been friends with Jessica since I started dancing in September. When she started it, I was one of the first people she invited. ‘Cause I was a baby stripper and didn’t really know what I was doing. She was like, “Hey, come on,
the really good environment to let go of all the
energies of the strip club, ’cause sometimes it can
be really crazy in there. (upbeat electronic music) – You’re naive before you start stripping, and I wish that I would’ve got to be naive about the world a little bit longer. We do have to acknowledge,
if we’re being honest, that a lot of sexual assault
happens within the strip club. That can cause a lot of trauma. I get rejected anywhere
from 10 to 50 times a night. You can only imagine what that would do to a normal person’s psyche,
you know what I mean? But add that on top of dealing with all of the judgments and
stigma surrounding stripping. I dealt with some mental
health stuff growing up. As a teenager I did do
the medication route, and I believe that that can
be helpful for a lot of people but I felt that it numbed
the best parts of me, my vivaciousness, my outgoingness, and it just made me this
dead even level person, so I stopped taking those. But I was still dealing
with depression, anxiety. (tranquil violin music) So when I started going to yoga and actually taking my
practice a lot more seriously, I found that I wasn’t dealing with those really sad episodes anymore. It was genuinely acting as a
medicine for my depression. What’s cool about Stripper Yoga is that we’re giving people yoga, and what yoga does is gets us to a point where we are able to
slow down our mind enough to understand where a lot of
our feelings are coming from. When I slow down my
mind enough to realize, I’m not ugly, people are
weird, and maybe I need to work on my sales
techniques a little bit more. My immediate goal is
to teach Stripper Yoga in multiple cities around the country. From there I’d like to start
teaching yoga teacher trainings exclusively for people in the industry. Take one more big breath in. There’s a lot of stuff that I didn’t have when I was first in the industry that I would like to be
able to offer girls now. – There’s a lot of resources
for girls in this community, it’s kind of you learn as you go. But with Stripper Yoga you have someone who you can fall back on and depend on. They’re there, they’re your family. – Society views you different
when you’re a stripper. So I’ve had to, the last 10
years, my entire adult life, navigate a society that overall hates me, and still hold my head high. I get passionate about it because I love these girls so, so much. These girls are just some of
the most incredible beings, like soft beautiful souls. How people are able to dehumanize somebody just based on them being sexual beings when we’re all sexual beings, I just can’t really comprehend that. There’s an energy living within me. That same energy lives within you. At the source of this
energy dwelling within us, you and I are one. – Jaguars are the largest
cats in the Americas, roaming as far north as Southern Arizona. They’re also an endangered species. Filmmakers Ryan and Rita Olinger went to the western Sierra
Madre Mountains in Mexico to document efforts being made to save them and their habitat. These scenes are from their documentary, “Where Jaguars Roam.” (tranquil music) – [Narrator] The Northern Jaguar Reserve spans over 55,000 acres in
northeastern Sonora, Mexico. Conservationists there are
restoring a central habitat for the endangered Jaguar, that has been almost completely wiped out in the US-Mexico borderlands. The jaguar is North
America’s top predator. Big, strong and elusive,
it holds a unique place in the legend and lore
of big cats in the wild. Nestled between the Aros and Yaqui Rivers, this region is woven with a wide variety of contrasting habitats, allowing for an immense diversity of
species to co-exist and thrive. Over 500 species of plants have been documented on the reserve, providing food and shelter for a multitude of insect species. It is also home to an abundance of amphibians, reptiles and birds, as well as 40 different mammal
species, like these coati, resting high in the safety
of a native palm tree while predators roam below. (rousing guitar music) This is home to the
northernmost population of jaguars on the planet. The teams that do this work must hike great distances
over difficult terrain to maintain more than 200 camera traps. The gathered photos
allow researchers to see the overall physical condition
of the jaguar population, their territory size and which
species share this territory. Over the past decade, reserve
biologist Miguel Gomez has perfected the art of
tracking these wandering cats. (rousing guitar music) To extend the safety of jaguars
beyond the reserve’s border, camera traps are also placed
on neighboring ranches. Ranchers are compensated whenever images of wild cats are captured. This involvement with the local community has played a crucial part in stopping illegal hunting
of these endangered predators. When night falls, jaguar
activity picks up. (nocturnal birds singing) It’s extremely rare to
encounter a wild jaguar. Its survival depends on its ability to blend into the
environment and not be seen. (tranquil music)
(birds singing) (calm guitar music) The effort to preserve this
crucial wildlife habitat extends beyond international
borders, walls and fences, and that raises the hope
of an optimistic future for the elusive and endangered jaguar. (calm tranquil music) – Thank you for joining us
here on Arizona Illustrated. I’m Tom McNamara, see you next week. (tranquil music continues) (rousing tones and chimes)

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