Teenage Activists Stage Quinceañera-Themed Protest of SB 4 at Texas Capitol

Ignacio Martinez

They said they were going to do it, and they did it. Now they're calling for a protest on September 1st at the Texas State Capitol. Click on The Grito to see how you can help. VL

By Ignacio Martinez, The Texas Observer (2.5 minute read) 

Fifteen teenage activists took to the Capitol Wednesday for a quinceañera-themed protest of Senate Bill 4, the so-called sanctuary cities ban.

Donning brightly colored dresses, tiaras and bilingual sashes with messages like “equality” and “sin racismo,” the young Latinas performed choreographed dances to songs like “Las Mañanitas” by Vicente Fernández on the South Steps of the Capitol while supporters, media and lawmakers watched and applauded. In between songs, the teenage demonstrators took turns speaking against SB 4, which they labeled discriminatory and dangerous.

Teenage activists stand at the Capitol’s South Steps for “Quinceañera at the Capitol,” a protest against Senate Bill 4. IGNACIO MARTINEZ

Jennifer Ramirez, 16, evoked the Statue of Liberty as she hoisted a bouquet into the air while uttering the words immortalized at Lady Liberty’s feet: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

The one-of-a-kind protest was organized by Jolt Texas, a new nonprofit aimed at leveraging the growing Latino population in Texas to turn the state blue. The group was founded in November after the presidential election.

Tania Mejia, the communications director for Jolt Texas, told the Observer that the dresses were owned by each of the individual dancers from their own quinces.

“There are almost 11 million of us here in Texas,” Mejia said. “One in three voters in Texas is Latino, so when we come together as one people we will be able to defeat not only SB 4 but all attacks on our community.”

Reminiscent of the 3 a.m. mariachi protest that serenaded the governor’s mansion in May, the “Quinceañera at the Capitol” used a cornerstone of Latino culture to drive home its point. Both demonstrations sent the same message: The communities that have always been a part of the fabric of Texas are no longer welcome in the state by Republican lawmakers.

Opponents of SB 4, one of the most divisive laws to pass the Legislature in years, have promised a “summer of resistance” to show their disdain. The law is set to take effect September 1, and its constitutionality is currently being challenged in federal court.

This article was originally published in The Texas Observer.

Ignacio Martinez is an intern at the Observer. A journalism student at the University of Texas at Austin, he’s written about topics including politics and video games. You can get in touch with him on Twitter or at [email protected]

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Add Your Name

Register your support for the Texas high schoolers action.
September 1st rally at the Texas state capitol.

Jolt - September 1st Walkout and Strike

Must Read

She Was a Realtor. And a Gang Leader.

Victor Landa September 26, 2017

When Irene Rodriguez died last year at 72 of complications from Parkinson’s, Calvary Mortuary in East Los Angeles filled with mourners. A video screen showed photos of her beaming at […]

Waive the Jones Act for Puerto Rico to Help Rebuild its Infrastructure and Economy

Victor Landa

Everyone has seen the unprecedented devastation in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.  The entire island is without power and thousands of Americans may die.  Many […]

It’s Time to Take Down Statues of Conquistadors

Victor Landa October 3, 2017

In 2006, the city of El Paso financed the construction of a 36-foot statue of the infamous Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Oñate riding his horse into battle. For some […]

DIECIOCHO Podcast: Hispanic Heritage Month: Why We Should Stop Saying We’re a Nation of Immigrants

Victor Landa September 18, 2017

We’re not a nation of immigrants, we’re an immigrant nation, and there’s a big difference between the two. This 2017 edition of Hispanic Heritage Month is a good time to […]

Latino Climate Politics, or Seeing God’s wrath in the hurricanes

Victor Landa September 21, 2017

Hurricane Harvey left fear, uncertainty and ruin in its wake. The Category 4 storm left some people questioning what could come next, to which Mother Nature quickly responded with another hurricane: Irma. […]

Puerto Rico Should be a Priority For Immediate Assistance and Debt Forgiveness

Victor Landa October 2, 2017

A headline in the September 26th  El Nuevo Día de Puerto Rico Interactivo stated: “Congressional support for the island will be addressed in early October.” The caption adds: “It was a devastating […]

Trump Administration Targets and then Mocks Immigrant with Prosthetic Leg

Victor Landa November 15, 2017

A 20-year-old undocumented immigrant with prosthetic leg and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status has been detained by federal immigration agents and held without charges for over a month, treated inhumanely […]

The Trump Administration’s DACA Renewal Deadline Was Moved Forward & Dreamers Weren’t Notified

Victor Landa October 5, 2017

The news that the Trump administration was ending the DACA program didn’t come as big of a shock to advocates as did the rushed deadline to process renewals — they […]