One of the truths of Hispanic culture is that we can make a fiesta out of just about any gathering. That was definitely the case last weekend in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley where throughout the weekend people trekked from one international bridge or border area to another to wrap up the Hands Across El Rio protest against the proposed border wall.
On this last weekend of the protest that spanned the border from El Paso to Laredo over the last 16 days, it was reported that hundreds showed up.
On Saturday in Brownsville, the president of the local university, along with, state congressmen, students and townspeople all clasped hands along a chain-link fence located at the Gateway International Bridge and formed a human chain that stretched across the border into Mexico.
The human chain was the protest’s symbolic gesture of solidarity between the two countries and was used at each of the 11 sites throughout the protest.
At the weekend gatherings, in addition to finding the traditional signs and banners, chants and speeches, that are the hallmarks of every protest, there was also comida (food), refrescos (drinks), piñatas and informational booths from all the different organizations opposed to the wall.
Does that mean people aren’t serious? Not at all.
It just goes to show that the wall is not just piercing generic towns but a culture that balances itself on the pillars of community and family.
No one disputes the seriousness of the issue and its very harmful impact on the border communities, but sometimes there needs to be a bit of levity to drive home how absurd something is.
It was reported that was accomplished with Texas State Representative Kino Flores who was to have brought a 24-foot ladder to a couple of the protests symbolizing that if 20-foot walls are built, 24-foot ladders would become the new Valley industry.
For now, the last organized protest to show Washington that a border wall is not wanted in their backyards will be September 29. It’s being called “No Border Wall Pachanga in the Park.”
Pachanga is another term for party in Spanish.
The organizers explain that the intent of the family-friendly event is to “show the broad range of community opposition to the wall and show the nation that the image of the border as a war zone is false.”
For some reason, people who live far from the border refuse to accept this reality that people along the Rio Grande don’t live under a state of constant siege.
All I can say, it’s a good thing we like fiestas so much. I have a feeling there will have to be a lot more thrown before Washington finally joins the party.