“Walls divide cultures, countries and people. I grew up in front of the wall that separates the United States and Mexico. My name is Noé Herrera and I was born in a city of Mexico named Mexicali, which stands for Mexico and California. Ever since I was small, I wondered why it was so difficult to cross the United States border. The cultures of these two countries have a lot in common, like the food, language and even some economic features. I have many friends on both sides and many people like me go back and forth between the United States and Mexico. Still, I’ve seen how this border represents pain and suffering for our two countries. I’ve seen it in the many families that are separated, in the immigrants who fight for a better future, in all the prejudice that we’ve created. And yet, I find that people are indifferent to the situation. Why? Because we’ve become accustomed to seeing the divisions.”
“I didn’t have the same experience with the wall as Noè. I’m able to say that it’s easier to cross from the United States into Mexico than vice versa. My name is Josef Capacio. I come from a city in south California, San Diego, near the border. I’ve also seen the division in the United States, but fortunately, I learned from when I was young to live for unity. Over the years, a new perception of the world made its way inside me. Growing up exposed to multi-culturalism, not only did I tollerate it, but I made it mine! I think that’s part of the reason why Noé and I became friends. I’m not just Josef, the American, born into an immigrant family from the Philippines, and him Noé, from the great Mexican race. We’re all that and even more.
We’re citizens of the world. And I’ll never forget how we met. After having spent a year away from home and attending a school of formation for young people in the Focolare in Italy, I was excited about returning home to support our projects in California. A friend suggested that I join the efforts for a project in Mexicali. In all honesty, at the beginning I was reluctant. Nevertheless, I bit my tongue and listened to him. Fortunately, after having met Noé, I decided to go along with several friends. That day can’t be described with words. It was amazing!”
“The goal was to show our vision of a united world through a simultaneous race along both sides of the wall. There were around 200 people on each side, with a single message: ‘We might be divided by a wall, but we’re together in building a more united world.’ Lots of people of all ages joined us and, ever since then, it has been an annual appointment that has involved the local governments from boths sides. Following that first big event, our objective has become more visible. Josef and I, along with several friends from our countries have had many opportunities to work together in different social projects, but also, over time, we developed fraternal relationships and real frienships with our neighbours over the border. I’ve found that our values, goals and visions of the world are very similar. We’re all the same and I can love his country as my own.”
“I took this photo during one of our events, which inspired this thought in me: ‘For many reasons there are physical, geopolitical, economic and security borders. But in our hearts there are no borders. We are one people and we want a united world!’ Those who have had the privilege of seeing our world from space, often tell of this new perception of human life on Earth. Up there in space there are no borders. They disappear. They’re invisible, non-existent. The reasons for continuing the wars become small. One astronaut even said: ‘From up here it’s clear that we are one Humanity on the Earth.’”