ALAMO, RGV – Thirty-eight different community groups from the Rio Grande Valley are hosting a weekend of activities Aug. 12 and 13 to speak out against President Trump’s border wall plans.
On Saturday, Aug. 12, border residents will participate in an ecumenical procession and rally at La Lomita Chapel in Mission, Texas.
This historic site and still active Catholic shrine has been chosen because it will be one of the areas that will be cut off from the United States in the no-man’s-land between the border wall and the Rio Grande River, if proposed levee-border walls in the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley sector are built.
A sunrise procession will set out from Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church and end at La Lomita, the mission that gave Mission, Texas, its name.
“Those who make the four mile walk will be greeted with mariachi music. At La Lomita speakers will address the social and environmental impacts of border walls, as well as the harms inflicted by the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant policies. Afterwards we will enjoy a community picnic on the mission grounds,” said Scott Nicol, of the Sierra Club RGV’s Borderlands Team.
“The goal of this event is to present to the rest of the nation the reality of life on the border. Border communities are some of the safest in the United States, and we reject border walls, the targeting of communities of color, and the militarization of our home.”
Nicol said that through music, speeches and poetry, the various community groups will “reaffirm the culture and history of the Rio Grande Valley and highlight the ways that our communities are connected to the river and to our neighbors in Mexico.”
He said the event will also “call attention to the damage that Trump’s planned border walls would do.” For example, he said, the plans would “cut off people’s homes, strip farmers of their land, close Valley parks, and devastate our ecologically sensitive wildlife refuges.”
The ecumenical procession and rally will also “remember the plight of migrants and refugees who are funneled by walls into remote areas where they are more likely to die from dehydration and exposure,” Nicol said.
Here are the details of the Aug. 12 events:
Dawn Procession begins at 7:00 a.m.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church
620 N. Dunlop Ave.
Rally at La Lomita mission begins at 9:00 am
La Lomita: https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/tx/tx15.htm
The next day, Aug. 13, will see a a tour for members of the press. The first stop will be the levee-border wall that currently stands between the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse World Birding Center and a section of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Mission, Texas.
“Members of the press will be able to see, film, and touch the wall,” Nicol said. “There will be issue experts on hand to provide insight into its construction and its negative impacts.”
From there the press, national, state and local, will be taken to Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in Alamo, a top attraction for eco-tourists from around the world.
“The Trump Administration plans to begin construction of a levee-border wall in the coming months that would run between the Refuge’s visitor center and its trails. We will visit the levee that would become a wall, and talk to local residents who want to save the Refuge,” Nicol said.
Issue experts and activists will be available for interviews at both locations, and scores of ordinary people who are opposed to the construction of border walls will be at Santa Ana, Nicol added.
Here are the details of the Aug. 13 events:
Meet at Old Hidalgo Pumphouse World Birding Center parking lot at 8:00 am
Drive from the World Birding Center to Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge
Co-Sponsors for these events:
Accion de Gracia Inmigracion
Action South Texas
A Resource in Serving Equality
Awesome Women in Action
Call to Action
Center for Biological Diversity
Chimney Park Resort
Defenders of Wildlife
Earth Guardians-Rio Grande Valley
Environmental Awareness Club at UTRGV
Friends of Friendship Park
Friends of Estero Llano Grande State Park
Friends of the Wildlife Corridor
Fuerza del Valle Workers Center
Hidalgo County Young Democrats
Hope Border Institute/Instituto Fronterizo Esperanza
La Union del Pueblo Entero
McAllen American Federation of Teachers
Mennonite Central Committee
National Association of Social Workers
National Butterfly Center
North American Butterfly Association
Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church
People for Peace and Justice
Stonewall Democrats of the Rio Grande Valley
South Texas Civil Rights Project
Southwest Environmental Center
Southwestern Association of Naturalists
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hidalgo County
United for Reproductive and Gender Equity
United We Dream
West Hidalgo County Tejano Democrats