Luis Gutierrez is currently a sophomore studying English at Florida International University. He loves to watch movies, listen to old music, and play beach volleyball with his friends. He also enjoys writing and collecting vinyl records.
Downtown as Text
“The Wall that Needed to Fall”
By Luis Gutierrez of FIU at Downtown Miami, Florida, 13 September 2021
Downtown Miami, Florida is known for capturing many famous and iconic scenes of our world’s history. From statues to monuments, to houses and museums, everywhere you turn there is an opportunity to catch a glimpse into the past. One of these opportunities resides on 3rd street, right outside one of the campuses for Miami Dade College. Though many pass by this graffitied piece of cement, once you are informed, the power and importance it holds is breathtaking.
This piece of cement was a portion of the Berlin Wall before its collapse in the late 80s. The Berlin Wall was placed to divide East Berlin from West Berlin and to stop emigrants from crossing freely. This separated families and friends instantly and soon caused riots around the wall to appear. Residents, desperate to get over the wall, would jump from the surrounding houses and even create makeshift hot air balloons. Eventually, in 1989, the leaders of East Berlin announced that the wall and its power will be stripped away, and all residents are free to cross the border. To celebrate, people would bring tools such as pickaxes and anything they had to tear down this concrete border that divided their people.
This portion of the wall now serves as a reminder of what those people experienced for over 20 years. The thought of being divided from my friends and family for even a couple months sends a shiver down my spine so I cannot imagine the thoughts and emotions the residents of Berlin were experiencing. This should also serve as a reminder of all the abstract walls that are now built up today and how they divide us as both a nation and as a species. Though we cannot see these walls, they nonetheless are serving the same purpose of dividing us and making our people weaker. We must come together as a people and strike down these walls that surround us.