This past winter, I wanted to do something a little different from going to Hawaii or Puerto Rico to film my friends surfing giant waves. I got involved with a project to get back to my skateboarding roots with a positive message. We do not intend to bash anybody or their beliefs, and instead, show that other things (skateparks) can be built to better humankind.
Build Ramps Not Walls (BRNW) is a project that began with a tight-knit Mexican and American skate community on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Looking for a positive response to the negative rhetoric between Mexico and the United States of America following the 2016 Presidential election, this diverse skate crew decided to come together and build a new ramp with the same construction materials that would be used to build the wall along the border. In the process of this construction, we saw skaters from all walks of life come together, overcoming barriers of race, age, gender, and economics to create a unique DIY park in all of Mexico. Here, Mexicans, Americans, and quite frankly anybody of any nationality can come together and skate.
With each day of construction, we saw that the community was not just pouring concrete. We were also promoting an ethic of hard work, encouraging youth leadership, sharing positive role models for local kids, and communicating across culture and language barriers with tolerance and the shared passion of skating. By building this DIY ramp together, our community has opened opportunities for skaters in the region to improve their skills without having to move to the big city or cross the border. We have put our skate community on the map for potential sponsors. Most importantly, we have offered an alternative solution for how to respond to the divisive rhetoric coming down from politicians these days. We say build ramps that unite, not walls that divide.