For the third year in a row, neighbors from both sides of the Rio Grande River gathered in Lajitas, Texas to celebrate “Voices From Both Sides,” a peaceful protest against the closing of the border.
Before the border closing, this stretch of the Texas border actually extended into Mexico. The communities of Paso Lajitas and San Carlos, as well as Boquillas and Santa Elena were home to many U.S. citizens. Traffic across the border was casual, and crossing the border for groceries, dinner, entertainment, or to visit family and friends was common- and the traffic went both ways.
Now, a five minute trek across the river to, for example, grandma’s house has turned into a several hour ordeal.
Once a year, Jeff Haislip and Collie Ryan- along with several members of the community from both sides of the river- organize a “Fiesta Protesta.” Bands from Mexico set up on the South side of the river. Bands from Texas set up on the North side of the river. There’s excellent BBQ, plentiful beer, and lots of hugs on both sides of the river.
For the third year in a row, the Mexican bands had the better PA system, and the Mavericks- in their purple stage outfits- were a very hard act to follow. Very tight and professional. As Trevor Hickle pointed out, it was perfect: Ojinaga is known for tight, professional ensembles and Terlingua is known for singer songwriters.
The first “Voices From Both Sides” celebration was a small, private affair that went virtually unnoticed. This year, professional camera crews were ubiquitous, reporters from San Antonio and Midland interviewed attendees, a reality show crew slithered about, and the crowd was the largest yet.
As the sun sinks into the Western sky, attendees join hands and create a human bridge across the river- with the promise that we’ll meet every year and make that bridge until there is a legal one.
Here’s how it looked to me. You may use these pictures for non-commercial purposes, as long as you give photo credit to Pat O’Bryan and insert a link back to http://terlinguamusic.com
6 Replies to “Voices From Both Sides 2015 – Fiesta Protesta.”
We are not just a community that lives on both sides of the river, we are a loving family of peaceful human beings. The river only marks a distinction when viewed on a map. Viva our family. Great pictures showing that love and peace. Those in power could learn a thing or two about the unity of people.
Great pics! Great story! It takes a village to make a village! Viva Terlingua, Viva San Carlos! Viva OJ!
Great shots! Really enjoyed it and will come back next year. Thanks for the memories.
Paul and I were so floored by this ritual. When we arrived and saw the snake of people across two lands and kids playing together in the river, we couldn’t wait to be submerged.
It was a religious experience. We crossed the Rio Bravo for the 1st time to meet our neighbors, introducing ourselves with pigeon Spanish…and sharing a universal language of music and dance; transfixed by Grupo Maverick, swaying to the beats they know so well from a music collaboration spanning more than a decade.
Then the sweet, soulful sound of Collie Ryan drew us back over where we absorbed the deeper reality about our new community and home in Terlingua.
Thank you Jeff et al for being catalytic in a real thing and for orchestrating something humanity is so hungry for. May Voices continue to grow out of such a clear intention without commercial co-opting of any kind. It’s a rare gem.
I look forward to visiting new friends on the other side when we get our passports from storage. Maybe in the near future Lajitas will be where we go to walk to Mexico, anytime. In the meantime, we’ll work on our Spanish.
Thanks for posting! Great photos that really captured the day!
Beautiful; hope they open those little crossings soon.
We used to go over for great food and cheap beer at the restaurant, and some groceries at the little store with the freezer full of HUGE cuts of meat.
It was free to go south and a buck each to get back in a funky old boat. The boatmen made their oars from metal poles or pipe and plywood, naturally.