Friends of Friendship Park celebrated 51 years since the park's inauguration last weekend.
"We're celebrating the past — because of 51 years. We are celebrating the present: by the work and the events that are happening. But we are also thinking about the future. And the future is not: fenced off, more border walls that preclude the safe and secure coming together of people and families and community and culture."
Assemblymember David Alvarez (D-80)
On the Tijuana side, the celebration included workshops on native plants, a Kumeyaay ceremony, and a free concert from guitarist Javier Batiz.
But on the U.S. side, the park has remained closed since February 2020.
Activists set out 150 empty chairs facing into Tijuana.
The chairs were meant to symbolize that "thousands of people on both sides of the border would be able to enjoy this site if it were allowed to serve the purpose for which it was designed" event organizers said.
Matthew Bowler is an award-winning journalist from San Diego. Bowler comes from a long line of San Diego journalists. Both his father and grandfather worked as journalists covering San Diego. He is also a third generation San Diego State University graduate, where he studied art with a specialty in painting and printmaking. Bowler moved to the South of France after graduating from SDSU. While there he participated in many art exhibitions. The newspaper “La Marseillaise” called his work “les oeuvres impossible” or “the impossible works.” After his year in Provence, Bowler returned to San Diego and began to work as a freelance photographer for newspapers and magazines. Some years later, he discovered his passion for reporting the news, for getting at the truth, for impacting lives. Bowler is privileged to have received many San Diego Press Club Awards along with two Emmy's.