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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Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo Is Standing Behind Her Strict Facial Coverings Order

Entertainment

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo Is Standing Behind Her Strict Facial Coverings Order

lindahidalgotx / Instagram

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is facing growing anger about her strict facial covering orders. The Latina county official is facing pressure from county residents as well as Texas state officials because of her science-based approach to controlling the spread of Covid-19.

This is Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.

The 29-year-old Latina has mandated that all residents of Harris County, which includes Houston, wear facial coverings when in public. Anyone who is caught without their facial coverings could face a fine of $1,000. Hidalgo is not the only politician who has mandated facial coverings to assist in slowing the spread of Covid-19, which has killed 100,000 people in the U.S.

Hidalgo has faced some backlash from county residents and state officials.

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In #elpaso for the Conference of Urban Counties!

A post shared by Lina Hidalgo (@linahidalgotx) on

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who you might know for saying grandparents are willing to die to reopen the economy, is one state official attacking Hidalgo’s orders. Patrick has called them overreaching on Twitter.

Hidalgo refuses to back down to the pressure citing the need to protect public health.

Hidalgo is pushing to make sure that Harris County residents have the best chance to slow the spread of Covid-19. This means using facial coverings and practicing social distancing, including working from home as much as possible.

“We have to use every tool in the toolbox,” Hidalgo said at a press conference. “I know this takes some getting used to, but these are all small yet powerful actions.”

The order mandating facial coverings is in line with the advice of health organizations.

The point of wearing facial covering is to slow the spread of Covid-19. The nonmedical coverings prevent people from spreading the virus to others while out in public. Studies and data show that asymptomatic people are spreading the virus and the main source of infection is airborne. A cough or a sneeze can send the virus up to 3 feet into the air.

Covid-19 is proven to cause deadly complications for people with certain underlying health conditions.

Latinos have higher rates of diabetes and heart disease meaning that Latinos are at a higher risk of dying from Covid-19. Hidalgo implementing facial coverings orders in line with advice from several national and international health organizations. The virus is still not under control and there is no proven vaccine, treatment, or cure for those who are infected. Stay safe.

READ: Another Man Has Died Of Covid-19 In ICE Custody And The Agency Still Lacks Any Plan To Prevent More Deaths

Quinceañera’s Are Getting A Makeover In The Time Of Coronavirus And One Teen Is Celebrating The Change

Culture

Quinceañera’s Are Getting A Makeover In The Time Of Coronavirus And One Teen Is Celebrating The Change

Jimmy Rodriguez

Coronavirus has put the breaks on pretty much everyone’s plans.

I mean, Coachella was postponed. Even the 2020 Olympics, which were supposed to take place in Tokyo this summer, have been postponed. Major family plans like quinceañeras have largely been put on hold as well – for obvious reasons. A quinceañera is usually a large family affair. They’re usually packed with family and friends, sometimes even the whole neighborhood, a church service, and a photoshoot.

So it makes sense for families to have postponed these very special events, since social distancing is proving to be the only truly effective method at combating the spread of the virus. However, one family got creative and celebrated their daughter’s big day.

This San Antonio teen was able to celebrate her big day with friends and family in a safe and fun way.

Like so many teens, Xóchitl had spent months planning her quince with her mom, Kristie. It’s one of the biggest days in many Latina’s young lives.

“Every little Hispanic girl dreams about her quinceañera and her wedding. Those are your two big days in your life,” Rodriguez, 45, from San Antonio, told NBC News.

“Usually, there is a Mass where the priest blesses you as you get ready for your transition, from being a young girl to becoming a woman, which of course we couldn’t do,” Rodriguez said, emotionally, over the phone.

Xóchitl and her mom had already spent hours shopping for the perfect gown and hours more planning her quinceañera before stay-at-home orders hit her hometown of San Antonio. In fact, her family had already organized both a mass and a fun-filled reception.

Then the Coronavirus hit and the family had to get creative.

Credit: Jimmy Rodriguez

San Antonio, like the rest of the country, had to implement strict stay-at-home orders in order to combat the pandemic. This left the Rodriguez family struggling to figure out how to celebrate their daughter’s big day and continuing with the tradition – despite a global health crisis.

It took some creativity and work, but Rodriguez and her husband, Jimmy, surprised Xóchitl on April 21 with a low-key but unforgettable version of her big day: a drive-by quinceañera. Xochitl was able to share it with her closest family and friends – at a safe distance.

Still, there are aspects of the tradition that families miss.

“It was very different, because our culture is very much about physical affection — you know, the hugging, the kissing, the touching — and it was really hard to see them and not be able to touch them,” Rodriguez said, speaking of the relatives and friends who came to cheer Xóchitl on.

Her quinceañera has gone viral thanks to the family’s creativity and perseverance.

Credit: Jimmy Rodriguez

They managed to keep the idea from Xochitl until the big moment came.

“We had blown up the balloons the night before and had kept them in the garage and then kind of made the mad dash to decorate the yard when it was time for her to go outside,” Kristie said.

Then, the family went outside and greeted her socially-distanced guests in her dress and her tiara. Instead of damas and chambelanes, the family pulled out some of Rodriguez’s old dolls and teddy bears and used them for a makeshift honor court – while friends and family sang “Las Mañanitas” from their cars and from the sidewalk.

She says she was completely thrilled to see all of the people she loved making an effort, despite difficulties, to make her feel special.

“I kind of lost hope of having anyone over or having a normal birthday where I can see my family,” she told NBC Latino. “I feel like my mom and my dad really made it special, trying to get the people that were closest to me.”