In December activists led by the Carnalismo Brown Berets gathered to mourn the deaths of Jakelin Caal Maquin, 7, on Dec. 8 and Felipe Gómez Alonzo, 8, on Dec. 25, two Guatemalan children who died while in custody of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
Caal died in a hospital two days after she was taken to a Border Patrol station, just days after her seventh birthday. She was in custody for over eight hours with no water. Houston activists gathered a few days later outside of what is planned to be a “baby jail” for migrant children. With candles lit at the vigil, Brown Beret activist Elizabeth Lozano expressed her sadness and anger at the death: “We must stay active so no more children die at the hands of the Border Patrol.”
Janie Torres, the sister of Jose Campos Torres, who was murdered by Houston police on Cinco de Mayo in 1977 in an explosive case that received national attention, told those at the vigil: “We need unity. We must work together to stop the violence from the government.”
Participating with the Brown Berets were members of the Carrizo/Comecrudo Indigenous nation and F.I.R.E., Fight for Im/migrants and Refugees Everywhere.
— Report and photo by Gloria Rubac