The recently-born and nonpartisan organization Boundless Across Borders offered a unique take on the display of unity of women of different cultural backgrounds and nationalities this past Friday, January 20th. In a demonstration of female fortitude and empowerment, 52 women gathered on the border bridge spanning from El Paso, Texas to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and separated into pairs, standing with their backs to one another. The women facing towards one another held hands as they had their hair braided together with that of the woman behind them, physically and symbolically binding together people of the same gender but different backgrounds and cultural identities.
In a statement to Yahoo Beauty, Xochitl R. Nicholson, a member and co-organizer of Boundless Across Borders, declared, “The vibe was power. The vibe was unity. The vibe was joy to be together and to say it all louder than words could ever say it.” Hair itself, in all of its forms- either long or short, curly or straight, or pale or dark in color- is particularly symbolic for women in the way it is styled or groomed and conveys a sense of individuality and personality, things that were celebrated at the demonstration. Nicholson told Fusion.net “We wanted something that referenced women directly, but that also sends a message about our common heritage and common backgrounds in a broader context… It’s a symbol of collective strength.”
The event attracted attention from advertisement on social media and was particularly groundbreaking because of the risk taken by participants as they stood in “No Man’s Land” in which anyone could potentially be taken into custody without probable cause. The dedication shown by these women standing in solidarity amongst strangers with similar thoughts and beliefs, despite potential legal repercussions, communicated a sense of fellowship that reverberated throughout either side of the border.