Hugs Not Walls: An Act of Protest and Community Healing
The emotive and monumental “Hugs Not Walls” event returned for its 9th edition in the El Paso-Juárez region, where the southern border once again briefly opened to give families forcibly separated by inhumane immigration policies the chance to hug their loved ones after years of separation.
Through this event, we are providing a long-awaited opportunity for kids, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles to see, touch, and hug each other for a few precious minutes, many for the first time in years! Our border and immigration system continues to devastate families yearly, deporting thousands of vulnerable migrants, many of whom have lived in the U.S. for years and raised their families here.
With the rising white supremacist narrative and the racist border practices which only strive to cause violence and demonize people who simply want to live with respect and dignity, it is of utmost importance to push our government to act: to ensure that these few minutes of hope and happiness are turned into a permanent opportunity that keeps families together.
Your contribution today will help us continue hosting #HugsNotWalls and expand a reminder to our leaders that alternative, humane, and just solutions are around the corner.
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.
Beyond El Paso: Human Rights Centers in the Texas Border Region
Since 1998, BNHR has been the leader organization in the arduous fight to protect and uplift the civil and human rights of all persons. In 2022, Border Network for Human Rights announced the opening of two new Human Rights centers along the Texas-Mexico Border in Presidio and Del Rio Texas.
With the constant rise of dangerous anti-immigrant, racist, and dangerous policies and strategies, such as Operation Lone Star, the Texas southern border has been subjected to poverty, criminalization, hate, and militarization. The Presidio and Del Rio Human Rights Centers will allow BNHR to continue increasing community outreach and enable people to find a much-needed platform to get informed, trained, and empowered to defend their most basic human rights. We must address the systemic violations of rights and hold immigration and law enforcement institutions accountable.
Our annual Civil Rights Abuse Documentation Campaign took a twist this year! BNHR has spearheaded this initiative for over two decades, however, for the first time in its trajectory, BNHR will amplify its monitoring and scope to include complaints from high-migrant activity routes along the U.S.-Mexico border, migrants in transit in Mexico, and individuals deported by U.S. immigration and other law enforcement agencies.
Our Abuse Documentation Campaign collects and documents cases of abuse, harassment, and civil and human rights violations against our community members by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
Your donation today will allow us to keep training volunteer documenters who go out into our communities to provide a safe and confidential opportunity for people to denounce any abuse and violation of their civil and human rights. Furthermore, it will allow us to produce a report that will be shared and distributed with the hopes of engagging law enforcement institutiions to find the necessary humane solutions that address civil and human rights violations.
For the past couple of years, we have seen the important role that proper documentation has in carrying out essential activities and accessing critical financial and medical assistance, school services, and when dealing with law enforcement agencies.
Establishing and implementing a Community ID program for El Paso residents would create an immediate solution for individuals experiencing homelessness, transgender people, survivors of domestic abuse, mixed-legal status families, and those who have recently left the justice system, among other communities living in the border region.
Your donation today will help us continue advocating for the creation of a Community Identification.