Fox News recently highlighted the work of Border Encuentro, a grassroots bi-national border group which advocates bringing Mexican and American people together at the border in San Diego to meet, play games, and share common interests. As the report notes, that is exactly what First Lady Pat Nixon called for when she dedicated the very park at which they meet.
Friendship Park at Border Field was one of the initial products of RN’s Legacy of Parks program, the history — and lasting impact — of which is explained in full by Frank Gannon. When Mrs. Nixon dedicated the park on August 18, 1971 she ordered the barbed-wire fence at the border removed and her impromptu stroll into Tijuana — shaking hands, signing autographs and greeting children along the way — embodied the purpose of Friendship Park.
Right now Border Encuentro is touching on a hot-button issue and potential subject of campaign 2012, that is whether or not to continue building a fence along the border. Regardless, the message of bringing people together is likely something Mrs. Nixon would have supported.
Jimmy Byron is a Marketing and Communications Assistant at the Nixon Foundation and a freshman at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.