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California Professors Create Seesaw Across US-Mexico Border to Allow Children to Play Together

  • July 31, 2019
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Two California professors, who developed a breathtaking vision for a seesaw that connected the United States-Mexico borders to allow for children from both sides to play together, watched as their idea came to life this week.

Back in 2009, Ronald Rael, an architect professor at University of California, Berkeley, and Virginia San Fratello, an associate professor of design at San Jose State, came up with the idea of a “Teetertotter Wall” between the U.S.-Mexico border.

Like the name suggests, the wall would be “a literal fulcrum” between the countries to ensure that even though the people were separated, they could still find a way to interact and be together.

Flash forward a decade later and Rael and Fratello officially watched as their plan become a reality in an event on Monday.

Sharing the exciting moment on Instagram, along with several photos from the day, Rael explained how meaningful it was to watch people from both sides of the border play together on a teetertotter, another name for a seesaw, while grasping the impact that they had all on each other.

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“One of the most incredible experiences of my and @vasfsf’s career bringing to life the conceptual drawings of the Teetertotter Wall from 2009 in an event filled with joy, excitement, and togetherness at the border wall,” he wrote in the post.

“The wall became a literal fulcrum for U.S. – Mexico relations and children and adults were connected in meaningful ways on both sides with the recognition that the actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side,” he continued, before thanking those who helped make this idea possible.

A video shared with Rael’s post features people from both countries laughing, talking, and engaging like kids as they go back and forth lifting each other on the pink seesaws and waving through the large, steel barrier.

Another particularly moving photo shows nearly everything in the area, including the large border wall, as dull shades of brown and gray — except for the pink seesaw that brightens the image and unifies both sides from the “darkness.”

Rael’s idea for the seesaw was discussed in a book he wrote called Borderwall as Architecture: A Manifesto for the U.S.-Mexico Boundary, according to the University of California Press Blog.

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The pink outdoor contraptions were set up in Sunland Park, New Mexico and then slid through the fence’s slats, where they connected to people on the other side in the Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, the blog states.

Though the event went off without a hitch, there was reportedly no advanced planning on the Mexican side of the border, which made for an even more unbelievably meaningful day as children joined in spontaneously.

The “Teetertotter Wall” comes amid America’s highly-debated stance on immigration, including how best to handle the many people who arrive at the southern border seeking new lives in the U.S.

President Donald Trump has vowed to cut back on immigration and has aggressively declared fears about migrants.


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