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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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The Arrest Of A Street Vendor By A California Police Officer Is Sparking Outrage On Social Media

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The Arrest Of A Street Vendor By A California Police Officer Is Sparking Outrage On Social Media

Blacktivist / Facebook

A video of a police officer arresting a woman selling flowers outside of a high school graduation has recently gone viral on social media. The video shows a Latina woman being wrestled to the ground as the officer tries to restrain her. The video drew strong reactions from people who believe the police officer used too much force.

Here is the video of the street vendor arrest that has gone viral all over social media.

Apparently, selling flowers is a crime?! If we don’t fight bac…

Apparently, selling flowers is a crime?! If we don’t fight back in sheer numbers, then we will always suffer this kind of treatment.

Posted by Blacktivist on Monday, July 17, 2017

The arrest took place on June 6, 2017 outside of the graduation ceremony of Perris High School, according to The Riverside Press-Enterprise. The woman was selling flowers and Hawaiian leis while people were leaving the ceremony and stuck in traffic because of the ceremony.

The viral video and an inquiry from the Press-Enterprise reporter prompted the Riverside Sheriff’s Office to release a full statement about the incident. People have flooded the police department’s Facebook page with messages to express their outrage at the treatment of the woman, who was later identified as Juanita Mendez-Medrano.

“This municipality is poorly represented by this police department. From the looks of it you will soon abandon this page because of all the criticism you are rightfully receiving,” wrote Pablo Otavalo. “Grabbing that woman by the hair in order to throw her to the ground is a disgusting display of power afforded to your officers only by a badge they tarnish with this behavior. Every abuse of power delegitimizes your work and is an insult to the whatever good officers you may have. This officer has shamed your department and shamed your community. People should be sure to let the Mayor know @MayorMichaelVargas.”

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, which oversees the Perris Police Department, released a statement yesterday about the arrest. The statement directly addresses the viral video and criticizes the video for only showing part of the altercation and not what led up to the incident. According to the statement from the police department, Mendez-Medrano was one of 15 vendors that were told to disperse because they did not have city permits to sell merchandise and were creating a safety hazard by going into the street to sell the drivers.

However, KTLA interviewed a man who was present during the incident and he disagreed with the claims by the officers. “A safety hazard… maybe if they were out in the streets, in the middle of he streets, but they were at the corner of a high school and the parking lot,” witness Jason Hernandez told KTLA. “They were not going up to cars directly.”


READ: A California Police Department Shut Down Street Vendors and “Bragged” about it on Twitter

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