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Artists In San Diego And Tijuana Projected Activist Art Onto Trump’s Border Wall Prototypes

Jill Marie Holslin / At The Edges
Video credit: Jorge Nieto

Donald Trump has worked steadily to realize his promise of building a bigger, more enforced wall along every state that borders the U.S. and Mexico. The biggest step in this plan has been the construction of eight border wall prototypes, erected in San Diego and built by contractors from around the country hoping to win government contracts for the project. The prototypes, which are 30 feet by 18 feet big, cost between $300,000 and $500,000 to build.

A group of artists and immigration rights activists from both sides of the border came together to protest the wall by literally shining a light on what it represents.

On the evening of Nov. 18, the group gathered on the Tijuana side of the border and projected light graffiti onto the prototypes. Images included a luchador mask, an outline of the Statue of Liberty accompanied by the words “Refugees Welcome Here” and the phrase “Build Bridges, Not Borders.”

The group, who had mostly never met before the action, is made up of Tijuana-based artist Jill Holslin, artist Andrew Sturm, Tijuana journalist Jorge Nieto and William Johnson and his colleagues from the activist groups Overpass Light Brigade-San Diego and People Over Profits of San Diego. They planned the entire project via Facebook Messenger.

They also projected a video of a ladder going up the walls of the prototypes as a means to ridicule the hundreds of thousands of dollars that it will cost taxpayers to make something Holslin says can easily be defeated by a $50 ladder.

“The federal government raves about the marvels of border security technology to protect us,” adds Holslin. “This massive investment in military technology protects no one but the defense contractors and their shareholders. ”

By mocking the prototypes, Holslin says the group sees an opportunity to “demystify and deflate the rhetoric of power that tyrants like Trump use to cast a spell on the public.” And for the group, creating art that injects “a laugh, fart or inappropriate comment” into a serious issue serves to disrupt their power.

“That’s why Trump has used violence to throw out the protesters from his events, because they make him look stupid,” says Holslin. “So we wanted to do the same thing with the prototypes. They are absurd, and we wanted to make them look like the absurdly stupid things that they are.”

Holslin is planning on doing more art interventions with Sturm and other artists and members of her national organization, Borderlands Campaign of the Sierra Club.


READ: The Border Wall Prototypes Are Up In San Diego. Here’s What That Means

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The Story Told In This Poem About A Latin Boy Being Broken Down By Machismo Will Pull At Your Heart

Things That Matter

The Story Told In This Poem About A Latin Boy Being Broken Down By Machismo Will Pull At Your Heart

This poet breaks down how machismo is toxic for very queer Latino out there.

Xavier “CoolKid” Grullon is not having it with the machismo culture that wants to prevent queer and emotionally open Latino men from existing as they are. The poet systematically breaks down why that kind of thinking and action can be so damaging. The use of that language can have long-lasting impacts on those that are being assaulted. Grullon doesn’t hold back as he screams and shakes and beats his chest while telling the story of a young boy growing up and being questioned about his sexuality all of his life.

“Crying is for the weak. Salty streams of wishes do not flow through these canals. They have dried up long ago by the temper that possess me,” Grullon says evoking strong emotions. “Too hot headed for his own good is a trait that every Latin boy inherits when he is born. From he moment of his birth it is whispered in his ears that Latin boys don’t cry. And the first time that he does, God will open up the sky and say, ‘How dare you. Vulnerability is not an ability that I blessed you with. There is no room for those tears. Suck it up, boy!’”

Grullon goes on to share what it looks like when everyone looks at the crying Latin boy and makes them feel unacceptable for being who they are. The poet masterfully challenges the idea that Latin men have to be tough, stoic, and emotionless. Grullon increases his tempo and his volume as the poem progresses almost as if conveying the confusion and chaos that exists within those Latin boys.


READ: This Latina Poet Just Owned What It Means to Love Your Accent

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