Imagine you have three minutes, and only three minutes, to be with your family.

What would you do? For three minutes you can hug your loved one. For three minutes you can hold your grandchild, niece, or nephew for the very first time. For three minutes you can hold your mother, and cry in her embrace. Three minutes, and only three, to see a sibling. You have three minutes to take a picture - the one picture you'll have where you’re all in one frame, together. For three minutes you can laugh with family.

And the air horn blasts, and you’re forced to separate once again.

Hugs Not Walls, an event organized by Border Network for Human Rights, allows families who are separated by the border a chance to connect. For three minutes, families are that much closer to being whole. 

Twice a year for the past three years, families are given three minutes to hug in the middle of the riverbed on the El Paso/Ciudad Juárez border. Families from the United States side of the border wear blue - on the other side, families wear white. The gates open, and families shift through in cycles, hugging, crying, and being together. Knowing the border stands for the hate that tears us apart, hugs represent the love that gives us hope. Love knows no borders.

With Trump's Border Wall looming large, moments of human connection are few and far between for these families. Hugs not Walls was moved a half hour west into New Mexico this year - displaced by construction on the Wall.

Using Format