What is your earliest childhood memory? For most of us, it’s the memory of playing with other kids in a playground, simply having the time of our lives. The image of a seesaw evokes many happy memories for us of the worry-free times when we were young kids without any care in the world. Who knew the time would come when a seesaw would mean something so meaningful as unity and harmony in the midst of conflict and division?
Border Wall Seesaws: Children from the US and Mexico Play on Seesaws Built at the Border
This is exactly what happened recently when a set of three shocking pink seesaws were set up at the border wall between the United States and Mexico.
Suddenly, the grim-looking wall that had been a source of dread for many became a place of playful laughter and friendly camaraderie as children from both sides of the wall, Americans and Mexicans, rode the seesaws together and just enjoyed themselves.
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Lots of people were overjoyed and became inspired at the sight of children from both countries playing together that many took pictures and videos of the event and shared them on social media, where they instantly became viral. Some adults even joined in the fun when they rode on the seesaws themselves!
The seesaws, playfully named the “Teetertotter Wall,” was the brilliant idea of two professors, Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello. Rael, a professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, has said that the seesaws were installed to symbolistically point out that actions on one side can have a direct consequence on the other. In 2009, he and San Fratello, designed the original concept for the binational seesaw in a book entitled Borderwall as Architecture. The project aimed to address the utter futility of building barriers as it would ultimately lead to conflict and more division between both sides.
The border wall has become a hot topic lately, what with US President Donald Trump’s insistence to expand and reinforce the barrier between the US and Mexico by replacing the existing one with fencing—that is, an actual impenetrable wall. At present, the barrier between the two territories is 650 miles long. President Trump had wanted to build the wall with the intent to prevent people from Mexico to cross over to the US illegally. His plan has led not only to a hot debate in political circles but also to a division in society, with many Americans taking opposing sides and fighting over whether the wall was a good idea.
Although the seesaws have since been taken down as of this writing, it has definitely created an impact among people, whether online or offline, and sent a clear message: that the actions we take and the decisions we make as Americans have an effect on the rest of the world, whether we’d like to admit it or not. And that sometimes, showing compassion—while having a little fun at the same time—is just simply the right thing to do.