Things That Matter

In Sparkly Ruffled Dresses, Quinceañeras Are About To Flood The Capitol To Protest A Texas Bill That Affects Thousands Of Latinos

DACA recipient Viridiana ‘Viri’ Sanchez, a summer youth organizer for Jolt, an Austin-based nonprofit mobilizing Latinos socially and politically, is taking her activism to the next level by shaping the vision for Quinceañera at the Capitol on Wednesday.

Hosted by Jolt, the July 19th event targets young women in Texas and throughout the country, and encourages them to mobilize and unite against Senate Bill 4, an anti-immigration bill signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott during the most recent legislative session.

mitú met with Sanchez and fellow organizer Maggie Juarez to discuss how Quinceañera at the Capitol came together and how they hope it will help put a stop to SB 4.

CREDIT: CREDIT: Jolt TX.

What is SB4 and how does it impact Latinos?

“(SB 4) lowered the standard of how people should treat us just because of our skin color,” said Juarez, a daughter of immigrants who resides and attends school in Pflugerville, a suburban community north of Austin. She is choreographing the event’s dances.

SB 4 has been compared to SB 1070, Arizona’s “show me your papers” bill which allows police officers to ask people for proof of their immigration status.

According to the Dallas News, SB 4 will punish cities, counties and universities that prohibit local law enforcement officers from asking about a person’s immigration status.

So how did the idea for Quinceañera at the Capitol come about?

CREDIT: CREDIT: Jolt TX.

“When Cristina (Tzintzun) started Jolt she encouraged me to become involved,” Sanchez said. “I told her, ‘You do know I am undocumented’ But then I realized we have to show people we have a voice. We don’t have to be scared of SB 4 or (President) Donald Trump.”

The idea for the event came from one of Jolt’s volunteers who witnessed quinceañeras taking photos at the state Capitol during SB 4 action.

Sanchez’s then set out to find 14 girls willing to join her as quinceañeras at the Capitol and have each one participate take turns reciting 15 reasons why they’re against SB 4.

The girls would then do choreographed dances and interact with lawmakers, all while wearing quinceañera gowns in hot summer weather. Some of the girls participating are undocumented like Santos.

What do organizers hope to gain as an outcome?

CREDIT: CREDIT: Jolt TX.

“We want to show the government that we are connected and not ready to give up,” Sanchez said.

No quinceañera is complete without a valz. These quinceañeras have choreographed dances to ‘Somos Mas Americanos‘ by Los Tigres del Norte and ‘Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)’ from the Hamilton Mixtape.

CREDIT: CREDIT: Jolt TX.

“We wanted songs true to what it means to be Latino in the United States and how we contribute, including to economic instability,” Sanchez said about why these songs were specifically chosen for the valz.

While there won’t be a baile de sorpresa, organizers encourage chambelanes to appear at the event or show solidarity on social media.

The girls invite Latinos across the country to tag themselves with their quince photos with hashtag #15contrasb4 and #bastaSB4 to show their support.


READ: 9 L.A. Poets Giving Latinos A Voice

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This Family Threw A Quinceañera For Their Cat’s Fifteenth And Even Got Her A Dress For The Occasion

Culture

This Family Threw A Quinceañera For Their Cat’s Fifteenth And Even Got Her A Dress For The Occasion

The Dodo

Cats are little bundles of love that make the world a happier, fluffier place —even if sometimes they scratch us to death and break everything that stands in their way, we still love them. This mom loves her cat so very much, that she threw a whole quinceañera party for her kitty, on the little one’s fifteenth birthday —dress and all.

This family stopped at nothing to give their precious kitty the celebration she deserved.

Credit: The Dodo

If you’re a Latina, you probably spent a good part of your life dreaming up your perfect quinceañera. From the dress, to the music, to your entourage, to the cake. There are so many things to consider when throwing the most important party a girl can have; her official entry into womanhood. Well, the same thoughtful and careful planning went into this kitty’s quince.

Luna is the family’s pride and joy, they adopted her after finding her struggling on the side of a road.

This little one celebrated her fifteenth year with her family. They adopted her when she was only three weeks old after they found her on the side of the road looking for shelter and struggling to live. They named her Luna, and since that day, she’s been the family’s pride and joy. 

“Luna is an absolute sweetheart, loves curling up with people and loves laying on her back on the floor,” Angel Olavarria, Luna’s brother, told The Dodo. “We have spoiled her with abundant love and she has outlived all of our pets. On her 15th birthday we decided to give our little cheese ball a surprise quinceañera.” 

The family wanted to celebrate the fifteen years they’ve spent with Luna by their side by spoiling her with all the treats.

Fifteen years of prowling on this earth is definitely a huge milestone for a kitty, who by this point has a loving and very deep connection with her family and has chosen her allies and human slaves. So we’re not surprised that the family organized a well-deserved pachanga for their little pet: her very own quinceañera.

And no, we’re not exaggerating by saying that they threw the cat a whole quince party, it was a real Mexican-style fiesta celebrating Luna’s womanhood…or cathood if you will. For those of you who might be living under a rock and are not aware of what a quinceañera party is; well it’s only the most important party a Latina girl can get. Traditionally, when a girl turns fifteen it is believed that she has reached woomanhood and so her family throws a party to say goodbye to the little girl and introduce her to society as a woman.

Mom came up with the idea, and she even ordered a quinceañera dress for the birthday girl.

It was all Olavarria’s mom’s idea. She first came up with the idea on Luna’s fourteenth birthday, and began working on plans for the party a whole week in advance. There would be food, a cake, decorations, a guest list and of course a special dress (and matching crown) for the birthday girl. 

That day, like every other, Luna was the queen of the house, only this time it was evident —note the outfit. “My mom found the dress on Amazon,” Olavarria said. “I totally thought my mom was joking when she said she was going to order a dress for her, but my mom never jokes about our pets.”

Luna was set at the head of the table and enjoyed her own cake.

On the big day, Luna’s family put her in her fancy dress and sat her at the head of the table to celebrate the wonderful fifteen years they’ve spent together. The room was decked out with pink tablecloth, balloons and flower arrangements. The celebration even included a little cake with tiny dolls matching Luna’s outfit. There was a huge feast with special cat treats that she probably only ever gets on very special occasions. 

There was a guestlist, an assortment of treats, lots of decorations and a ‘tres leches’ cake.

There was a total of 12 guests, family members and friends were all in attendance, and the party went on for three hours. They all enjoyed the company with lots of food and a traditional ‘tres leches’ cake. It seems like the kitty really enjoyed her party. She licked her whiskers and ate everything that was set in front of her. Her humans didn’t let any detail slide. “She was such a good sport through the whole thing that we think she actually knew we were celebrating her,” Olavarria said “She loved it even more when we opened up a nice can of tuna for her.” 

All we can hope for is that someday someone will love us as much as this family loves their Luna.

A New Documentary Exposes The Massacre In Porvenir, Texas That Left 15 Mexican-Americans Dead

Entertainment

A New Documentary Exposes The Massacre In Porvenir, Texas That Left 15 Mexican-Americans Dead

porvenirmovie / Instagram

Porvenir is a Spanish word. If you break it down, por venir literally means to come, and the translation is the future. It’s also the name of what used to be a tiny town in Texas located right next to the Rio Grande on the border. The village of Porvenir in Texas, which is a town no more, had roots that reflect the brutal and deadly colonization that this country was built on. 

“Porvenir, Texas” is a new documentary on PBS that brings to light the massacre that happened on the border more than 100 years ago. 

Credit: porvenirmovie / Instagram

As the tense immigration crisis continues in this country today, the documentary “Porvenir, Texas” shows how this struggle has been part of our history since the inception of the United States of America. 

The story of the massacre cannot be told before discussing the war between the U.S. and Mexico. While the U.S. continued to expand in the southwest through its war with Mexico, the battle to live and remain in the country affected the most vulnerable people who weren’t part of the war at all. They were Mexicans who lived in Texas and along the border before it was ever part of the United States. However, after Mexico lost Texas to the United States, those living in Texas, became Americans overnight. That didn’t please the incoming residents — white people looking to make the country their home. 

The documentary exposes the brutal killing of 15 Mexican men — some who were American as well — which the U.S. tried to hide from history. 

Credit: porvenirmovie / Instagram

With the expansion of the U.S. throughout its new state of Texas, white ranchers staked their claim in areas that were owned by Mexican-Americans. Like gentrification today, Texas was also gentrified during the Wild West, which meant Mexicans, who were now Americans, were displaced because of higher taxes. 

With the revolution still going on in the Mexican border and new white ranchers taking over land, racial tensions were high. White people were told that all Mexicans were “bandits” and Mexican-Americans were in fear for their lives thinking they could be killed based on the color of their skin.

White people were killing Mexican-Americans outright with no consequences, and the film shows graphic images of that. 

Credit: porvenirmovie / Instagram

Here’s a summary of that fateful violent night as reported by NBC News: “In the early morning hours of Jan. 28, 1918, a group of ranchers, Texas Rangers, and U.S. Army cavalry soldiers entered the village and rousted the residents from their beds. They led away 15 unarmed men and boys of Mexican descent to a nearby bluff, where they shot and killed them. These victims ranged in age from 16 to 72, and some were American citizens. The town’s women and children fled across the border to Mexico for safety. The next day, the perpetrators returned and burned the village to the ground. Porvenir ceased to exist.”

We have no idea how many other Mexican-Americans were killed with such brutality during this period because there’s no record of it. The only reason the story of Porvenir can be told today is because of two men that documented what happened. 

Credit: porvenirmovie / Instagram

Harry Warren was a white teacher that worked with some of the community in Porvenir and wrote about what happened that night. He also was a witness to the bodies.  José Tomás (“J.T.”) Canales, who was a state legislator at the time, launched an investigation against the Rangers, and his depositions and testimony have been preserved as well. 

“There were many cases like Porvenir, where the initial response from the state was to try to fabricate what really took place,” Monica Muñoz Martinez, an assistant professor at Brown University and the founding member of the public history project Refusing To Forget, told NBC News. “It was not unusual for the state to try to justify such acts, by criminalizing the victims. Residents of Porvenir were described at times as squatters or bandits. None of this is true.”

Christina Fernandez Shapter produced the film and spoke about the importance of making sure these stories are never forgotten. 

Credit: jefegreenheart / Instagram

“I am Mexican American myself, I am from Texas, my family has been here for generations,” she told NBC News. “And I know we all have stories in our families, sometimes of land being taken from us or other injustices.”

Here’s a clip of the film.

Click here to watch the entire documentary. 

READ: This Exhibition Told The Stories Of Mexicans And Mexican-Americans Who Were Illegally Deported In The ’20s And ’30s