Combating Immigration Laws With Quinceañeras In Trump's America

Combating Immigration Laws With Quinceañeras In Trump's America

Using culture as unification.
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The protests against Trump’s America are far from over.

On July 19th, 2017, 15 young women were on the steps of the Texas State Capitol in Austin, each dressed in traditional, colorful quinceañera gowns. Each gown was adorned with a ribbon; rather than being printed with celebratory exclamations, they read “Equality,” “Accountability,” and the like. Their dresses were not worn for birthdays, but to demonstrate against the immigration enforcement law set to go into effect on September 1st.

The law, which is currently Senate Bill 4, permits “Texas law enforcement officers to request proof of legal residency during any routine detention – for example, a traffic stop.” Under what is commonly referred to as the “show-me-your-papers” law, Texas police officers are equated with immigration officers. In gaining this power, they are no longer under the absolute purview of local government. The law also bans sanctuary cities, demanding that state governments follow federal immigration laws.

Furthermore, the law, signed by Governor Greg Abbott is not the only controversial law he’s supported. Abbott has also been associated with the “bathroom bill” intended to crack down on rights for the transgender community. Supported by far-right conservatives, Abbott’s agenda places San Antonio residents at the brink of drastic change.

For the children of immigrants and immigrants themselves, SB4 is horrifying. It nullifies the priority list for deportations that had placed criminals at the top and instead makes any undocumented immigrant a priority. It threatens the possibility of racial profiling amongst police officers, and increasingly strained relationships between officers and their communities.

Jolt Texas is an activist group in Texas, centered around building the political influence of Latinos in government. Their aim is to use Latino culture to unite families and communities and to combat unjust legislation. They co-organized the protest. Founder Cristina Tzintzun commented “we want legislators to know and Trump to know that we won’t sit idly by while legislation of hate is passed.”

The participating young women performed a choreographed dance to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done),” and “Somos Mas Americanos,” by Los Tigres del Norte. They gave empowering speeches and entered the capitol to speak with legislators.

It is chilling to hear the women declaring: “We are brown and beautiful. And we won’t back down. Because we are Texas.” Seventeen-year-old Magdalena Juarez states, “This is our home, and we will not be disrespected in our own home.” They voice the concerns of immigrants everywhere, undocumented or not, who deserve the equal respect and opportunity of any American citizen. These girls embody an era of resistance that is much-needed, and unlikely to end.

Cover Image Credit: Cristina Tzintzun / Twitter

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

SEE ALSO: To My Closeted Self, I Have Something To Tell You

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Say "I Love You" More

Sometimes, people need the reminder.
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You assume they already know.

You look at your best friend and think about how lucky you are that they are in your life, how much you appreciate their presence, how much you love having them there. How much you love having them. But they know that already, right? So you smile and shake the thought out of your head and carry on with what you were talking about.

Sure, they probably already know. But sometimes, people need the reminder. Think about the last bad day you had. The last time you laid in bed, stared at the ceiling, cried and felt totally unimportant. Wouldn't it have helped if you were told at that moment that you are loved? That someone cares about you? That you matter?

I've heard it said a lot that you can't love someone until you learn to love yourself. This is just nonsense. The amount that someone loves themselves does not reflect how open their heart is, how much they give to people. Many times, the ones who are struggling love the hardest, regardless of what they feel when they are all alone.

They need the reminder too.

Every time someone has shared with me how they feel about me, that moment has stayed on my mind for months. In fact, they still are. It's important for people to feel like they matter. It's necessary sometimes to remind them that they do.

What's the point in holding it in? What good does it do anyone to not share what you feel, to not share in the love and compassion you have inside of you?

I am a very emotional person. Not only that, but I am a very vocal person. This is because I once spent too long holding in my feelings, only to be burned by that. Now I share. Sometimes, I overshare how I feel. This includes telling people who are very aware of how I feel about them that I love having them in my life for the thirteenth time that week. I feel annoying sometimes, being compelled to do so. However, my friend told me once that through me, he is learning how to love better. How to love more.

That never left me. The idea that because I am loving someone, they can love more too shocked me. I didn't think I had anywhere near that power. But, it made me realize how important it is to make sure people know how much you care. Even if they already do. The reminder can do much more than you will ever realize.

Tell people you love them. Don't be afraid of being honest, real, true. We only have a limited time to live our lives. Don't waste time not spreading the love you can.

Cover Image Credit: Scott Web

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