James Baldwin said, "The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been hidden by the answers."

What an apt description of a new art installation at the southern border.

A set of bright pink teeter-totters extend into both the U.S. and Mexico through the barrier between the two countries. Children and adults on both sides of the border can play together, seesawing up and down, their view of one another partially obscured by the vertical steel slats that separate them.

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When the Associated Press published Julia Le Duc's photograph of a drowned Salvadoran man, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, and his 23-month old daughter Valeria, it sparked outrage on social media. According to Le Duc, Ramírez had attempted to cross the Rio Grande after realizing he couldn't present himself to U.S. authorities to request asylum.

But beyond raising awareness via Twitter and Facebook feeds, does an image like this one have the power to sway public opinion or spur politicians to take action?

As journalism and psychology scholars interested in the effects of imagery, we study the ability of jarring photos and videos to move people from complacency to action. While graphic imagery can have an immediate impact, the window of action – and caring – is smaller than you'd think.

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When more than 2,000 children were taken from their families at the border, Julie Schwietert Collazo found it increasingly difficult to sleep.

And as the spouse of a refugee, immigration issues were already intensely personal for her family.

One night, Schwietert Collazo was listening to the radio and heard an interview with the lawyer of a detained Guatemalan mother. Yeni Gonzalez had been separated from her three children at the border while seeking asylum.

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On Nov. 20, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and grandparents living on opposite sides of the U.S.-Mexico border were allowed to hug each other for the first time in years, or — in some cases — decades.

The event was sponsored by Border Angels, a San Diego-based nonprofit that supports immigration reform and provides services to immigrant families living on the U.S. side of the border.

Six families were permitted to visit with each other for a few minutes each, according to a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune. Border guards were present to ensure participants didn't stray too far to one side or the other.

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