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

Remembering Gus Garcia, Mexican-American Civil Rights Pioneer

Victor Landa July 27, 2017

By Raul A. Reyes, NBC News (7.5 minute read)   In his heyday, Gus Garcia cut a dashing figure in Texas legal and social circles. He was a key member […]

As Latino Sneakers Sales Go, So Goes the GDP

Victor Landa July 19, 2017

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (1.5 minute read)  There’s news today from the Latino sneaker sales index, which is one of the most reliable economic indicators for U.S. Latinos. I found there’s a […]

The Immigrant Trailer Tragedy is One Story in 6,000

Victor Landa July 24, 2017

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (3 minute read)   An average of 428 people die each year attempting to cross the U.S. southern border. In the past 14 years 6,000 undocumented […]

La Uva, Mexican-American winemaking: Lucha, Oportunidad y Familia

Victor Landa August 4, 2017

By Eduardo Díaz, Director – Smithsonian Latino Center (3 minute read)    The advent of World War II (WWII) created a serious labor shortage in the United States. With so many men […]

Aztecs, Mayans marveled at eclipses — and predicted them with precision

Victor Landa August 21, 2017

By Liliana Valenzuela, Austin American-Statesman (2.5-minute read)  Astronomers across the ages have looked up to the skies and marveled at eclipses. Using different numerical systems, the Aztecs and the Mayans observed eclipses and […]

Many Latino College Students are Homeless, Hungry

Victor Landa July 25, 2017

NewsTaco HEALTH TUESDAY By Eric Moreno, Salud Today (2.5 minute read)   There are more Latino college students than ever before. The bad news is that the high cost of higher education […]

Meet the Young Latino Mayor Who Is Bringing Back His Rhode Island City

Victor Landa August 9, 2017

By Geraldine Cols Azocar, NBC News (5-minute read)  CENTRAL FALLS, Rhode Island — We hear a lot about millennials making waves in the entertainment and tech worlds, but a young […]

The Growth of the Latino Population is Slowing Down

Victor Landa

By Cliff Despres, Salud Today (1.5 minute read)  While still on the rise, the annual growth rate of the U.S. Latino population has dropped from 3.7% in 2006 to 2% in […]