Last Updated on February 11, 2023 by BVN

Asante-Ra |

The Weingart Foundation has issued a statement condemning the Biden Administration’s plan to build a wall through the iconic Friendship Park.   

On January 17, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a branch of the Department of Homeland Security responsible for border management, ended the delay of the Friendship Circle Project in San Diego, California. The project aims to replace the outdated primary and secondary border barriers near Friendship Park. 

CBP paused work in August 2022 to receive further input from the community and address any concerns. After analyzing feedback and balancing it with the needs of the agency, CBP has come up with a plan that they say addresses both community concerns and border security requirements. The replacement work is expected to begin again in early 2023 and will take approximately six months to complete.  

In response, Miguel A. Santana, President and CEO of the private, nonprofit grantmaking organization based in Los Angeles, said on Feb 2, “For generations, Friendship Park has been a gathering place for people on both sides of the border to build goodwill and unite with family. The importance of this meeting place runs parallel to the increasingly restrictive immigration policies of the U.S. that separate families.” 

According to Santana, before the U.S. closed its side in 2020, Friendship Park offered the only opportunity for thousands to see their loved ones through thick metal mesh. He further believes that if this plan proceeds, instead of a symbol of friendship, the park will represent division. 

Cars travel through Tijuana alongside the U.S. Mexico border wall on December 22, 2019. (Aryana Noroozi for Black Voice News Newsroom/CatchLight Local).
As she stands on the Mexico side of Friendship Park, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib peers through the border wall looking onward to the U.S. side on December 22, 2019.  Today, community members on both sides of the border are raising their voices to call on President Biden to halt his plans to destroy the connecting wall of Friendship Park. (Aryana Noroozi for Black Voice News Newsroom/CatchLight Local).

“We join the Friends of Friendship Park in calling on the Biden Administration to halt its plans to destroy this connection between our two countries,” proclaimed Santana. “Instead of more barriers, the Biden Administration should repair existing fencing and reopen this historic park so it can continue to be a gathering place for families on both sides of the border.”  

The Weingart Foundation was founded in 1951 by Ben Weingart and his wife Stella and is dedicated to “building a better Southern California by supporting nonprofit organizations to more effectively serve the underserved.” with a particular focus on organizations that deliver high-quality health and human services and education.  

Over the years, the Weingart Foundation has granted more than $1 billion to organizations in the areas of human services, housing, health, education, and community power-building. 

Asante-Ra is a versatile writer committed to delivering informative and engaging content. They are a voracious media consumer, and lifelong learner passionate about science, health, gender diversity, accessibility, racial equity, and civic participation. They have a broad range of interests including society, culture, popular education, history, human sexuality, romance, comedy, poetry, and exploring topics such as indigeneity, world religions, mythology, astrology, and Blackness.