By Diana Nguyen
On Saturday, hundreds gathered to swim, dance, and enjoy music on the Rio Grande at the seventh annual Voices From Both Sides event in Lajitas. The event began in 2013 and takes place every year on the weekend of Mother’s Day.
The party is organized in part by Jeff Haislip — part of the nonprofit Big Bend Citizen’s Alliance — with the purpose of using art and music to raise awareness of the Big Bend’s border.
Tightened border security after 9/11 made it harder for locals and visitors to the area to cross the Rio Grande. Prior to that, they moved freely across the river to shop, eat, and even go to school. The nearest port of entry is 50 miles away in Presidio.
Haislip says he hopes a port of entry will return to Lajitas/Paso Lajitas because “there was a community here that was divided. It was very obvious that we’d been torn apart. You’ve got families that haven’t seen their mother in a year because it’s so hard to get around there. “
Some families return annually to reunite with their loved ones for the day.