Weekend after weekend anxious families arrive to Friendship Park to visit their relatives. With respect, I ask them where they come from, and how long it has been since they have seen their family members that live on the Mexican side. For those that live in Mexico, I inquire what state of Mexico they are from… How long it took for them to arrive to the Park… Names, states and numbers fill my notebook. For them, those numbers and statistics mean pain, sadness, hope, and dreams. They encounter their loved ones and they talk, they laugh, they cry, and it is palpable how important family is for them. This place, aside from showing pain from separation, also shows the beauty of family ties.
But there is something else that worries me when I am in the Park too… I frequently see a great number of little ones joining their parents on both sides of the fence. In their innocent eyes… how do they feel? What are their thoughts on this place? How does it feel to meet their grandparents for the first time… to talk to their deported father… to play with their cousins through that mesh where your pinky finger barely fits through? Do they think this is normal? Do they live this experience as a routine in their lives? Will this ritual become “el pan nuestro de cada dia” for them? Is this visit causing an impact? Will they do something to try to change what has become a routine trip for their parents and attempt to do something more once they grow up? Will there be another Sophie Cruz? Will they create a world where their children will not have to talk to their family through a fence?