Things That Matter

This Year The Border Opened Up Just Long Enough For This Couple To Get Married

Credit: Guillermo Arias / Getty

Planning a wedding is already stressful, but when there’s an entire border separating you from your soon-to-be spouse it’s even more so. Even so, these newlyweds weren’t going to let anything come between them on their special day.

The “Door of Hope” is the nickname given to the steel gate embedded within the border wall that separates Tijuana and San Diego. Once a year, the “Door of Hope” is opened for an hour and a select number of families on both sides of the fence get to hug the loved ones they’ve been separated from, usually as a result of deportation.

Last Saturday marks the sixth year that the border gate has been opened to reunite friends and families. This year, during the event, Brian Houston of San Diego and Evelia Reyes of Mexico took the opportunity to tie the knot.

With other families gathered and Border Patrol officers vigilant, the two signed the documents needed to make them husband and wife. They then embraced in front of a large crowd of families and journalists.

Speaking with The San Diego Union Tribune, Houston said the non-profit organization Border Angels, who organize the yearly event, helped them arrange the ceremony. Houston wanted their wedding to also be a comment on the current border situation – a testimony to the world about hope in the face of adversity.

“It’s a statement that love has no borders,” Houston told the newspaper. “Even though we are divided by a giant fence here, we can still love each other on both sides of the fence.”

The ceremony took place about 15 miles from where prototypes for Trump’s proposed border wall have been assembled.

According to The Tribune, the couple speak on the phone every day and are working with a lawyer to find a way to bring Reyes to the U.S.

Although Houston and Reyes may one day have a happily ever after in the same country, for the time being they’ll have to continue living on opposite sides of that wall; a wall that, if Trump has his way, will be taller, stronger and doorless.

[H/T] The San Diego Union Tribune

READ: Cards Against Humanity Bought Land On The Border And Plan On Making Trump’s Border Wall Very Difficult To Build

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This New Border Wall Mural Features QR Codes That You Can Scan To Hear Emotional Stories Of Deported Migrants

Things That Matter

This New Border Wall Mural Features QR Codes That You Can Scan To Hear Emotional Stories Of Deported Migrants

pdtmuralproject / Instagram

Deportation is a reality that many people living in the United States face in some way or another. It is an unfortunate consequence of immigration and the policies that are currently in place.

Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana aims to shed light on those who migrate into the United States as children and are deported as Adults.

De La Cruz Santana is a Mellon Public Scholars Fellow and is a UC Davis Ph.D candidate. Her project titled, “Who Are the Real Childhood Arrivals to the United States?” is influenced by her family. Both of her parents immigrated to the United States and were later granted permanent residency.

The mural is located at Playas de Tijuana, where her father crossed in order to enter the United States, and took a total of 9 days to complete. It focuses on the stories of 6 different people who came into the United States as children, some of which were deported later in life or are currently at risk of deportation.

The people represented in the mural are Karla Estrada, Monserrat Godoy, Jairo Lozano, Isaac Rivera, Andy de León, and Tania Mendoza.

CREDIT: Credit: pdtmuralproject / Instagram

Estrada and Lozano are DACA Recipients. Lozano’s first experiences working was in the fields with his family. During the summer, he continued working because he was not eligible for financial aid or loans. He went on to receive his Bachelors in Sociology and his Masters in Marriage and Family therapy.

Godoy and Mendoza are DREAMer Moms. Both Godoy and Mendoza are strong mothers who want to see their children more than anything. After living in the U.S for some time, Godoy was threatened and ordered by her husband to go back to Mexico. She took her 2 daughters with her because she feared for her life, but they struggled in the Mexican education system. The father of the two girls successfully arranged to have them brought to him in the U.S, but he denies Godoy the right to see them. Similarly, Mendoza has not seen her daughter in years after getting deported due to her daughter’s father not wanting to give her custody rights.

Rivera is a Repatriated Childhood arrival who came into the United States at the age of 6. He was then deported after being stopped at a border checkpoint in Temecula, California.

De León is a U.S Veteran and a Repatriated Permanent Resident. He lived in the United States for more than 50 years until he was deported after his green card was revoked. He is a senior citizen who has lived in United States his whole life and struggles to live in Tijuana.

Each face that is painted is accompanied by a QR Code to engage the viewer and allow for them to interact with the mural.

CREDIT: Credit: pdtmuralproject / Instagram

It’s easy to passively watch art, but the QR codes allows these murals to come to life and tell their story without being interrupted or  without fear. Viewers can learn more about the stories behind the faces first-hand and admire the mural at the same time.

The goal of the mural is to create awareness for undocumented folks living in the United States and to obtain legal help for the individuals showcased.

The project was personal for most of the people who worked on the mural with De La Cruz Santana. For instance, Mauro Carrera and Robert Vivar.

CREDIT: Credit: pdtmuralproject / Instagram

Carrera is the muralist who brought the De La Cruz Santana’s idea to life. For him, the project has been filled with emotions because he was just a child when he came to live in the United States. He was born in Veracruz, Mexico and migrated with his family when he was 4 years old.

Vivar, who has born in 1956, immigrated with his family from Tijuana, Mexico to Riverside, CA in 1962. He grew up in the United States, his experiences shaping his childhood and adolescence. He held a variety of jobs in California, got married, and started a family. However, he eventually got deported after ICE came to his home. Vivar has lived away from his family and the country he has ever known since 2011. In a video that is part of the Humanizing Deportation project , Vivar recounts his life and says, “[I am] Proud to have been born in Mexico, but I am also a proud American because the United States is where I grew. It is my home and no deportation and no government will take that from my heart.”

The mural emphasizes the fact that the stories we hear about immigrants are not all the same. Every immigrant has a story that deserves to be told and shared.

If you would like to visit the mural, it is located in Playas De Tijuana

A White Nationalist Attacked Latinos Near The Border, Here’s A Reminder Of Latino Beauty And Heart


A White Nationalist Attacked Latinos Near The Border, Here’s A Reminder Of Latino Beauty And Heart

This weekend marked the 8th mass shooting in the United States of 2019 that have left at least 60 people dead. It’s hard for many to feel hopeful of the direction the nation is headed when mass shootings continue to feel more like the norm rather than a cause for concern and a cause for stricter gun laws—especially when white supremacists are specifically killing and targeting communities of color. 

But despite the darkness and the lives that were lost, it’s also important to not completely lose ourselves in it. Highlighting the beauty around us will help us in our fight for a safer country for future generations.

While one border town suffered from a mass shooting, one L.A. journalist reminded us of the “beauty of another border town, Tijuana.” 

Esmeralda Bermudez, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, shared a series of tweets highlighting the beautiful Mexican culture in Tijuana during her stay there. 

“On a day when hate targeted brown people near the border — when so many feel devastated and powerless — I thought the least I could do is show you the joy and beauty of another border town, Tijuana. #ElPasoStrong,” Bermudez tweeted. She was sharing a video of a quinceñera dancing along with what seems to be her father, with the banda blasting in the background. 

On Saturday morning, a gunman opened fire at a Walmart at Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas, killing at least 20 people. Not even 24 hours later, a shooting in Dayton, Ohio left nine people dead and dozens injured. 

In a series of tweets, Esmeralda Bermudez from the L.A. Times showed us the beauty of our people, of our culture, and the joy folks were feeling in another border town that could have easily been the subject of that mass shooting. 

Bermudez tweeted “while the American side of the beach is silent, on the Mexican side tubas & trumpets sound off across the sand.” 

The L.A. Times journalist highlighted a vibrant place filled with “good people and lots of good food.”

Bermudez’s tweets were refreshing and humanized the folks that white supremacists and racist leaders like Donald Trump demonize day in and day out. 

Still, we can’t help but feel a tinge of sadness as we remember that this is perhaps what the folks and communities affected by the El Paso mass shooting were also like.

According to reports, the gunman left behind a four-page document posted to 8chan that was “filled with white nationalist and racist hatred toward immigrants and Hispanics, blaming immigrants and first-generation Americans for taking away jobs and the blending of cultures of the United States.” 

However, it seems to have been lost on the gunman that what is now Texas was once part of Mexico until it joined the U.S. in 1845. According to the Texas Tribune, a new census estimates that “Texas’ Hispanic population growth continues to surpass white population growth, with Hispanics on pace to soon represent plurality.” 

There’s no doubt that it hurts to see our Latinx communities be targeted in such ways and then have innocent victims pay the price of white supremacy. 

It also goes without saying that the current administration and our commander-in-chief, Donald Trump, is to blame for the fact that the gunman felt he had the right and the power to take away the lives of innocent folks simply because he felt they did not “belong here” or should “go back” to their countries. 

As of Monday, August 5, the death toll from the mass shooting that took place in El Paso is at 22 victims. According to BuzzFeed News, David Shimp, chief executive officer at Del Sol Medical Center said earlier today that an elderly woman died late Sunday and another patient this morning. 

According to CNN, “El Paso County District Attorney Jaime Esparza said that the suspect is charged with capital murder and that authorities will seek the death penalty.” The FBI in El Paso is asking anyone who was at the scene of the shooting who might have taken video or pictures to submit them to investigators. 

Lastly, Esmeraldo Bermudez ended her series of tweets with a video of a man playing somber music on his violin—which almost felt like a tribute to those who lost their lives on the other side of the border, in Texas. 

“I hope these scenes from the border brought you some sense of goodness on a tragic day,” she tweeted. “Tomorrow I’ll be joining my colleagues at the @latimes to continue to bring you full coverage of the mass shooting in El Paso. Good night.”

Earlier this morning, the Los Angeles Times also published an article in which many Latinos share that the El Paso shooting this weekend marked a devastating new low in the Trump era. 

“It’s a destructive moment for this country,” one Latino said. “This is the first time when I feel as if our adversaries have declared war against our immigrant community.” 

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