LatinaLista — There’s advance word that things along the Texas-Mexico border will be heating up this weekend.
No, it has nothing to do with the temperatures hovering near 100 degrees, nor are there any Minuteman protests planned that Latina Lista has been made aware of.
Rather what will be heated up are contingents from Texas and Mexico who plan to join hands in the start of a series of protests regarding the building of a border fence.
This Saturday, at two points along the border — El Paso and Mission, Texas — groups are forming a united front in making the strongest statement yet to Washington that construction of a border fence is not wanted by residents of the region, on either side of the border.
San Diego border fence
In El Paso, the kick-off of the 16-day border protest Hands Across the Border begins with a 9 a.m. press conference.
Already taking an almost folk-myth quality about it, the protest has spawned poems and songs and is drawing support from such camps as the pageant organization of Miss America Latina to the Mayor of El Paso:
While it is clear that the United States is in need of a fair and comprehensive plan for the reform of immigration and border security, it seems that the proper direction for this reform is still very much unclear.
What those who do not live in the border region may not understand is that the cultural and economic connection between the U.S. and Mexico is one that neither country can afford to cast aside. We function within a symbiotic relationship that can, and must, survive only through a more discerning and critically-insightful immigration reform, one that is sensitive to the circumstances and basic human rights of all the people involved. I, along with many other Texas border mayors, judges and economic experts, believe that building a wall across our nation’s southern border is not this reform.
In a show of support and solidarity, our city of El Paso will take part in Hands Across el Rio, a 1250-mile, 16-day protest against the border wall. This demonstration of bi-national unity begins on August 25, 2007, here in El Paso, Texas, when I, along with other concerned individuals and organizations from both Texas and Mexico, will join hands to create a human chain along the bridge that crosses the Rio Grande. This scene will repeat at a number of border bridges throughout Texas, including Del Rio, Laredo, and Brownsville, with the final demonstration taking place on September 9, 2007.
We ask you to join us this Saturday, August 25th, at 9:15 am at the Lions Placita, located at the intersection of West 8th Avenue and South Santa Fe Street, near the toll booth of the Paso Del Norte Bridge (otherwise known as the Santa Fe Bridge). If you would, please come in a shirt denoting the organization with which you are affiliated, along with 35Â¢, identification, and proof of citizenship, if necessary, to assure that you will be able to cross back into El Paso without difficulty. I hope you and your organization will participate and stand united with me on this issue.
While the Hands Across El Rio protest is taking place, a protest from the No Border Wall group will be underway in Mission, Texas.
In addition to the protest, the group has a petition against the construction of the wall on their web site. Their goal is to reach 5,000 names; so far, 499 people have signed it.
Protests are planned all along the border culminating with more happening the weekend of September 8-9.
During that weekend, protests will be held in Weslaco, Progreso, and Brownsville, Texas, along with, Matamoros, Mexico.
In fact, on September 9 when Hands Across El Rio reaches Brownsville, the faculty and student body of the University of Texas at Brownsville plan to play a major role.
Wonder why they care so much?
Well, the fence is scheduled to be built right through their campus which would leave part of it on the Mexican side.
Though all these protests are well organized and have a core group of supporters, they all need more people to physically join them in showing Washington that this is one idea that has a lot of holes in it.
As Dr. Tony Zavaleta, vice president of external affairs at The University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College said:
My goodness, do we want the next generation of kids growing up with the mentality of a wall or border, and the next generation of Mexican kids having that in their psyche as opposed to unity? I just don’t get it.