Border Wall Protest Report

Email from Jay Johnson-Castro

A smashing success…!!!

On Saturday (July 14)…two significant protests against the wall were held. Thought I’d give a brief summary on both.

On Saturday morning, Betty Perez and company…or the Lower Rio Grande Valley area…coordinated a flotilla of kayaks and canoes. Betty was the coordinator of this event…which was hosted by “noborderwalls”…a group of environmentally savvy folks (groups.yahoo.com/group/noborderwall ). To my knowledge…this is the most cohesive group on the US-Mexico border so far. It includes some caliber minds from around the Valley who are using their creative juices to collectively oppose the wall.

We launched up river from Roma in a secluded village along the banks of the Rio Grande called Fronton. Media was converged in ample numbers…including AP, Reuters, San Antonio Express News, Univision, local CBS and a diverse group of local journalists.

We floated down to the historic suspension bridge that connects Roma and Miguel Aleman. The Miguel Aleman Mayor joined the flotilla. His family was on the bank downriver as we paddled by. When we got to the suspension bridge…there was a rally, press conference…and then…a “Hands Across the River”. A human chain that virtually stretched across the international bridge.

In the evening, we attended a protest in Brownsville. I was coordinated and hosted by a group called CASA, under the direction of Elizabeth Garcia. Again, the media was plentiful. After a rally, there was another human chain…which felt more symbolically a human wall along the banks of Rio Grande…in opposition to the border wall. After the chain…there was a march from the park through downtown to the campus of the University of Texas Brownsville (see photos at Unidos Contra El Muro).

In both cases, elected officials showed up in support. The diversity of participants reflected those of us who reside on the border. There was no lack of color, size, age, religious affiliation. There was not lack of opposition to the wall. Lots of interviews were taken. Lots of pictures and video. Lots of sound bites…of diversified feelings about the wall. Mission accomplished!

This took the collaboration, coordination and willingness on the part of many folks…who may not have been heard or had their quotes or pics in the paper and on TV. Hopefully you can feel the reward of seeing the fruits of their labor. We’re grateful to you…

Jay

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