August 1, 2008

Save Friendship Park

‘Save Friendship Park’ will be the theme of a binational interfaith prayer vigil, beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday. Aug. 3 at Border Field State Park. The purpose of the vigil, according to John Fanestil, executive director of San Diego Foundation for Change, is to express opposition to construction of a triple fence along the border, particularly at Friendship Park on Monument Mesa in the park at its border with Mexico.

“This has traditionally been a place where families from both sides of the border can visit across the fence. With the fence construction, that access will be greatly restricted if not eliminated.As people of faith, we also object to the degradation of the environment at this special place,” Fanestil said.

“Friendship Park is the last remaining refuge for families that have been inhumanely torn apart because of workplace raids and deportation to visit and embrace each other from their respective countries; we must continue to allow the grandmother to embrace her grandchild for the first time, the son to hold hands with the elderly grandfather, a mother to be allowed to embrace her only child” Enrique Morones, of the Border Angels, said.

Friendship Park is also the site of the annual La Posada Sin Fronteras, a ritual commemorating Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter on Christmas Eve. It is also celebrated with participants on the Tijuana side of the fence.

The last three miles of the triple fence now under construction will cost $70 million and cause extensive environmental damage to the Tijuana estuary. In addition to the Foundation for Change and Border Angels, other organizations co-sponsoring the event include the American Friends Service Committee and the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights. For more information, phone (619) 384-6852 or (619) 269-7865.

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