On July 29 2019, the Facebook page “Jolt Texas” shared a video (archived here), stating that “[artists] installed seesaws at the border wall” so that “kids in the U.S. and Mexico could play together”:
The clip racked up millions of views in just a few days. Its caption read:
Amazing: Artists installed seesaws at the border wall so that kids in the U.S. and Mexico could play together. It was designed by architect Ronald Rael.
Beautiful reminder that we are connected: what happens on one side impacts the other ❤️❤️❤️
A link led to an Instagram account with a similar video.
On July 30 2019, NPR reported artists had installed the seesaws fairly recently, describing the effort in its headline as “see-saw diplomacy”:
A stretch of the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico was adorned with a set of pink see-saws this week — allowing children (and grownups) to play together across the barrier. The event was “filled with joy, excitement, and togetherness,” says architect Ronald Rael, a leader of the project.
The seesaws were installed on Sunday, when their steel beams were eased through the slats of the tall fence that divides Sunland Park, N.M., from Colonia Anapra — a community on the western side of Ciudad Juárez in Mexico.
“Everyone was very happy and excited to engage the seesaws,” Rael says via email, describing the mood at Sunday’s event. And while he admits to being a little nervous about the completion of a project that had been brewing for 10 years, he says it went off without a hitch.
“It was peaceful and fun — a day at a park for the children and mothers of Anapra,” Rael says.
In that article, Rael said officials on both sides of the border were sanguine about the installation:
“U.S. Border Patrol did not have a problem with it, nor did soldiers from Mexico,” Rael says.
ABC News shared a different video of the border seesaws being used by children on either side of the fence:
NBC News reported that the idea dated back a decade, but the project did not come together until late July 2019:
Ronald Rael, an architecture professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and Virginia San Fratello, an assistant professor at San José State University in California, came up with the idea for a “Teetertotter Wall” in 2009.
Their idea finally came to life at an event Monday in Sunland Park, New Mexico, when three bright pink seesaws or teeter-totters were added to the giant steel border wall. The contraptions, typically found at a children’s playground, stretch into Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.
There appeared to be three border seesaws in total. It is not yet clear whether the installation is temporary or permanent — but it is real.