The pink seasaws put up at the border wall between Mexico and the US by two Californian professors were meant to break barriers but appear to be nothing more than a political statement.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on July 31, 2019

Seesaws lightened the deeply divisive Mexico–United States border wall built to stop illegal immigrants entering America, it has been widely reported.

Professor Ronald Rael, at University of California Berkeley, and Virginia San Fratello, an associate professor of design at San José State University in California, came up with the concept of a Teeter-Totter Wall in 2009.

The seesaws came to fruition on Monday (local time) at an event in Sunland Park, New Mexico, when three pink-coloured seesaws or teeter-totters were added to the giant steel border wall. The seesaws, normally located in children’s playgrounds, stretch into Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

It brought joy to the children on either side of the wall as they bounded up and down on the seesaws and broke down barriers the wall had built.

“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 borderwall,” Professor Rael wrote on Instagram.

“The seesaw demonstrates how those immediate relationships between people can create an environment where happiness and play are also important aspects of life on the border and that our relationships with our neighbors can extend past political relationships but also humanistic relationships,” Rael and San Fratelle told Forbes. “This is incredibly important at a time when relationships between people on both sides are being severed by the wall and the politics of the wall. The wall, and the unfortunate politics of the wall, not only separate countries, but regions, cities, neighbourhoods, families, and more recently, the separation of children from their parents.”

US President Donald Trump, who promised to build the border wall before his election in November 2016, was given approval by the US Supreme Court to use the Defence Department’s US$2.5 billion counter-drug budget to build another 100 miles of the wall on Friday (local time).

The US–Mexico border wall has been a divisive issue due to the disturbing conditions at detention centres and crude comments made by border patrol officers in a secret Facebook group.

However, Rael and San Fratello removed the seesaws later the same day. The pink seesaws put up at the border wall between Mexico and the US by the two Californian professors were meant to break barriers but appear to be nothing more than a political statement.

“There is no playground along the U.S.-Mexico border wall in New Mexico. On the evening of 28 July, U.S Border Patrol agents encountered a small group who identified themselves as local university faculty/staff at the border wall. They had placed boards through the wall and appeared to be playing with residents of Mexico while recording the engagement. The group removed the boards and left the area without incident after it was established that there was no advance coordination. Agents ensured that no people/goods were crossed during the encounter,” a Customs and Border Patrol official said in a statement.