“The color of my skin is not probable cause.”
Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin have joined a lawsuit against Senate Bill 4, a very tough anti-sanctuary city law that has been compared to Arizona’s SB 1070 or the “show me your papers” law. Those are four of the five largest cities in Texas. The fifth city in that category is Fort Worth, a typically conservative city that has so far stayed quiet in the debate of the law, according to United Fort Worth‘s film “A Call To Action Film.” One of the lead organizers of the group tells mitú that the fight against SB4 needs everyone on board, including Forth Worth and that exactly what United Fort Worth aims to do.
Anette Soto recalls that SB4 has plagued Texas since the beginning of this year. There were many demonstrations across the state calling for the bill to be rejected by the state legislators, yet the bill still passed.
“Many of us spoke out and made statements against SB4 but ultimately had to watch our state legislature passed it into law, strictly on party lines and with complete disregard of any concerns voiced by cities and law enforcement officials,” Soto says. “Ultimately, it passed and we braced ourselves for the worst. Several social justice organizations filed lawsuits immediately, but it wasn’t until a tiny border town named El Cenizo, Texas joined a lawsuit against the State of Texas that suddenly it seemed that people still had an opportunity to be heard. Shortly after, San Antonio joined the lawsuit, then Austin, then Dallas, then Houston. Hope was suddenly alive again, except in Fort Worth, Texas where we live.”
Soto tells mitú that she felt like residents of Fort Worth didn’t want to “rock the boat” by talking about the bill because of it’s conservative environment.
— Senator Kirk Watson (@KirkPWatson) July 28, 2017
“Fort Worth, a conservative city with a truly very philanthropic and family-oriented community, suddenly fell silent,” Soto tells mitú. “It took a group of very passionate local college students to force the conversation and they were the ones that started United Fort Worth, and ultimately started organizing actions to push our city council to publicly vote on whether or not to join the existing SB4 litigation.”
Soto tells mitú that A Call To Action was created to show and explain the sentiment in the Latino and immigrant communities that some people don’t understand, or try to pretend they don’t understand. In Fort Worth, according to Soto, they have to create a different kind of argument that they are using in the other major cities with more progressive ideals. Rather than taking an aggressive stance like that of Houston and Austin, Soto and United Forth Worth organizers understand that they are trying to talk to people that voted predominately for Gov. Greg Abbott, who enthusiastically supports the bill.
“Hopefully putting our faces, experiences, and fears into this film will yield enough understanding and support for our city to stand up for us as well,” Soto says. “You’ll note there are a lot of non-Latino faces in the film. This is not just a Latino concern in our community, this is a human concern.”