Sunday’s community picnic on the Continental Avenue bridge park was supposed to start at 11 a.m. At 11:20 the text came through: “Parking lot is emptier than usual.”
But within the hour, the parking lot was packed with vehicles and the overflow spilled into adjacent spaces. Then the picnickers—some in ball caps, some in hijabs—met on the bridge.
After attending recent travel and immigration protests at DFW Airport, Oak Cliff neighbor Rob Shearer organized a “Bridges Not Walls” picnic to promote local cultural unity through a shared necessity: food. From sandwiches and donuts to watermelon and kabak tatlisi, strangers traded morsels, their stories and their thoughts on recent sociopolitical tumult. Meanwhile, their children scaled the playground.
Unlike January’s deluge of political rallies and marches, there wasn’t a forest of protest signs or megaphones or burning effigies. Just a few hundred people eating together on a Sunday morning.
Before the picnic drew to a close, there was a call to prayer. Kneeling and rising, the devout faced east. A group of tandem cyclists passed the assembly, pointing west. For a moment on that bridge, the groups were aligned.