Tree of Life

Today there was a shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The city is home to some of our closest family members. It’s where Jordyn’s grandparents met and grew up. It’s where Justin’s cousin lives. It’s where Jordyn’s parents married. It’s where Justin’s sister calls home.

The Tree of Life Synagogue is in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Squirrel Hill. This is the same neighborhood where Jordyn’s dad lived as a child. It’s the same faith community that has welcomed us home during times of loss and mourning within our immediate family.

Hatred in America is nothing new. This is not the first time in our history that communities have lived in fear. 

Throughout our travels, we’ve spoken to many who have expressed anger and have spoken out against violence. We’ve spoken to many who have called for gun policy reform. We’ve heard from those who won’t be placated by empty hopes and prayers. 

We join you in raising our voices - we raise them today as this violence hits close to home, and we will raise them again tomorrow. We will raise our voices from La Frontera here in Texas. Tendency to Wander began as an experiment - a listening campaign to hear from Americans and to share photos and stories of the unique and unifying.

We will continue to listen. We will continue to hand the microphone to those who are being ignored. We will continue to speak with you against hatred - against racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, ableism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and all the isms and phobias that stand in the way of making America “great.” We will continue to work towards a safer, juster, America.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo from May 2018.

Three Minutes

Twice a year for the past three years, families separated by the border are given three minutes to hug in the middle of the riverbed on the El Paso/Ciudad Juárez border.

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

For three minutes, families are whole. We are honored to share the work of the Border Network for Human Rights and to bear witness to life on the border.

Anapra Border Gate, New Mexico. October 2018.

Hugs Not Walls

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 The 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. 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.

We had the honor to witness just a few of these moments this morning - and the stories were heartbreaking. A little girl shouting for her father across the fence. A young man wondering if his tia (his aunt) remembered him. A young mother who hadn’t seen her own mother face-to-face in seven years - this morning her kids met their grandmother for the first time. A line of journalists wiping tears from their faces. 

We’ll let the photos speak for themselves. We’ll post more in the next few days.

You can find more information about the Border Network for Human Rights on their website:

Anapra Border Gate, New Mexico. October 2018.

#HugsNotWalls, #LoveKnowsNoBorders, #AbrazosNoMuro

Tear Down That Wall

This week the Department of Homeland Security announced new construction on Trump’s Border Wall in downtown El Paso. While a fence already exists, it will be removed and replaced at a cost of $22 million. Former El Paso County Judge and Democratic nominee for El Paso’s U.S. House seat Veronica Escobar said the federal government has largely ignored the concerns of the community.

“This is really disturbing,” Escobar said Thursday to the El Paso Times. “The federal government does absolutely no outreach. They don’t inform the community and they don’t communicate with anyone. They’re just coming in and they’re going to erect this wall without any sort of engagement with anybody.”

This morning the people of El Paso made their voices heard - marching alongside the Women’s March El PasoHope Border Institute, and the Borderland Immigration Council at an event called Tear Down The Wall! The group of protesters marched through the streets of El Paso’s oldest neighborhood, chanting “Hey hey ho ho, this border wall has got to go!”

El Paso, Texas. September 2018.

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