Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) was founded in El Paso, Texas in 1998, building on a rich history of local activism around border and immigration issues. BNHR reframed these efforts through a human rights lens and a goal of building sustainable, organized community power. We are a human rights organization, not an immigration rights organization, and we aspire to advance the dignity and rights of all persons. We work to change policy and practice and as such, center affected persons by providing them the skills, organization, and opportunity to lead such efforts.
Causes: Community Advocacy, Migration, Social Justice
The Border Network for Human Rights is a human rights organization, not an immigrant rights organization, and aspires to advance the dignity and rights of all persons. One of our campaigns to promote love is our Hugs Not Walls
Reuniting families from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, #HugsNotWalls has become an important symbol of love, hopen and resilience bringing together families to see, embrace, and hug their loved ones from across the border. Our event is a demonstration of the ties have held border communities together for hundreds of years but are now blocked by broken and ill-conceived immigration policies and practices that seperate families.
#HugsNotWalls has been held seven times in the last three years and has been a time for reflection within our border community and the nation. Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, our last event successfully reunited 300 families thanks to more than 18 years of dialogue between our organization and the United States Border Patrol in El Paso.
We were honored that this event was memorialized in a powerful Netflix documentary “A 3 Minute Hug” which captures both the joy and heartbreak of families separated by U.S.- Mexico border policies. The short but bittersweet reunion that took place during the unique event sent a strong message of love, hope, and resistance. The documentary was directed by Everardo Gonzalez and executive produced by Gael Garcia Bernal. The short film was released globally on the streaming service on October 28, 2019.
Stories of Reunification
“My daughter’s name is Gabriela, she is 5 years old and she was a year old when she saw her daddy for the last time. Even though they talk by phone, thanks to this event, she was able to meet him in person and hug him; she hadn’t remembered the last time that happened. The situation was always very difficult for her because her older sisters were able to go visit their dad and she was always asking, why can’t I?” – Laura Murillo, Gabriela’s mother.
“I hadn’t seen my daughter in seven years, so I was really happy and excited to see her, but my heart is still missing two pieces because I have another daughter in Washington and one more in Colorado. I can’t see them because I can’t travel, but yesterday was a very special and happy day and I am very grateful for all of you and with God for making this possible. I will be eternally grateful.” – Policarpio Duran.
Where does your money go?
Grant and donor funding is where most of our funding comes from. Your contribution goes immediately into action through any of our campaigns be it toward helping an essential worker who could not qualify for federal financial assistance, or assist a marginalized community member (homeless, undocumented, transgendered, or others) obtain a community ID as an alternative form of photo identification to help them integrate into city government, public safety departments, local economy, and everyday social interaction without fearing fines, tickets, or even arrest for not having proper identification.
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