we believe every experience can be improved
We began TJTQ on August 23, 2013 at the pedestrian line of the San Ysidro Port of Entry; the busiest land border in the world, 50 million people from all over the world transit the area every year. Tijuana Te Quiero means Tijuana I love you and the word "quiero" also means want. So, we asked children and adults what they wanted to improve their experience at the border. The number one request was shade.
TJTQ's space along the ped line offers just that, shade. And a couple of other things too. TJTQ smells like cherry blossoms, if it were up to us, the border would be full of flowers and trees. We believe that the best way to create change is to set the example.
Thanks to the community involvement, TJTQ was able to create a clean, safe and comfortable environment with many places to rest, free water to fill up water bottles, green apples for heathy habits that can only cross into the U.S. if they're in your belly, upon request music: we ask "what is your favorite song?" and play it for them, movies via netflix, games like loteria or puzzles and hula hoops and soccer balls, crayons and markers to draw ideas on how to make the world a better place, hugs and stories too. Waiting at TJTQ can be a lot of fun!
We celebrated TJTQ's 1st anniversary by launching thousands of environmentally safe white balloons with the hashtag #borderUNITY to celebrate the peace and unity between the U.S. and Mexico, a dynamic pre-approved by CBP's Director of Field Operations Pete Flores. That day, border crossers held a silent march for their daily routine.
TJTQ has created an amazing border crossing community that is based on kindness and a pay-it-forward mindset. We believe that happy people make happy cities.
But, outside, people were still waiting for hours under the blasting sun in a dirty and polluted environment with no public restrooms, emergency exits or first aid. After a year and two months of inefficiently lending umbrellas for the sun and rain, on November 22, 2014 TJTQ finally installed shade structures for the 45,000 pedestrians waiting for hours to legally enter the U.S. from Mexico thanks to the generosity of Thomas M. Curie and Jason M-B Wells from the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce. Every day it shelters 3,000 people at a time. People had asked for it and they had got it! We will remember this forever.
TJTQ's founder Monica Schroeder was named Border Advocate of the Year 2014 and 2015 by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the State of California for her "outstanding leadership championing our communities beyond border lines."
On June 11, 2015 TJTQ partnered with Francisco Carrillo, President of SIMNSA Health Group to open the first ever Free Medical Clinic for border crossers. It was inaugurated with the Mexican Cónsul General in San Diego Hon. Remedios Gómez-Arnau, the U.S. Cónsul General in Tijuana Andrew S.E. Erickson, the Chief of the Police Department in Tijuana Alejandro Lares Valladares and Tijuana Mayor Dr. Jorge Astiazarán Orcí. Dra. Lizarraga, one of TJTQ - SIMNSA doctors, was able to aid an expectant mother waiting in the car lanes to cross the border as she went thru labor and gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Cristian. We met the happy family on Father's Day 2015 as they shared their story on TV for the world to hear.
We believe in borderUNITY. We believe that we can work together as citizens of the world to create the future we want. There are too many walls dividing society.
For TJTQ's 3 year anniversary we will paint a 400 meter mural on the "temporary" plywood wall that stands between cars and pedestrians. We will work hand in hand with the border crossing community and artists from both sides of the border. We believe art can tear down walls to build unity, borderUNITY.