Houston Activists say NO! to SB4

Houston

Over a hundred Houstonians gathered on a holiday weekend on March 30 to condemn Texas’ SB4, the anti-immigrant, anti-Latiné bill passed by the Texas Legislature and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in December. Chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, SB4 has got to go,” the crowd marched from a downtown park to the U.S. Federal Courthouse for a rally. The demonstrators included immigrant families, activists and three state legislators. The majority, who were people of color, could all be victims of SB4 if it is allowed to go into effect, militantly chanted and rallied for over two hours.

Houston protest against anti-migrant bill, March 30, 2024. Credit:WWphoto Gloria Rubac

SB4 is being held up in federal court. But if allowed to go forward, it would give any cop in Texas the right to arrest people they think look “illegal.” This will result in racial profiling and has already caused fear among immigrants, who are even afraid to report crimes when they are the victims.

The rally was organized by Immigrant Families and Students in Struggle (Familias Inmigrantes y Estudiantes en Lucha or FIEL in Spanish), a decades-long strong activist organization for the rights of migrants. Cesar Espinosa chaired, introducing dozens of people who could be affected by SB4.

Activist Consuelo Ramirez, an organizer for the Domestic Workers Alliance, got the crowd moving with a militant speech in Spanish, saying people were not going to stop fighting SB4 until it was gone!

After a moment of silence for the workers who died in the bridge collapse in Baltimore, Maryland, Anna Núñez gave statistics about who the workers were, saying that all or most killed or presumed dead were originally from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico.

Núñez said, “Federal data shows that Hispanic workers face disproportionately high fatality rates, especially in the construction industry. In Texas, the majority of construction workers, over 60%, are Latino. While foreign-born Hispanic and Latino workers made up 8.2% of the U.S. workforce in 2021, they were 14% of workplace deaths, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And these deaths have been on the rise.”

The march and rally were emotionally charged. Two of the three legislators who spoke about fighting against Abbott’s SB4 are from immigrant families: Rep. Christina Morales, Vice Chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, and Rep. Ana Hernandez, who was born in Mexico and was undocumented as a child.

Additional speakers included grassroots activists, community and representatives of Workers World Party, the Houston Socialist Movement and Party for Socialism and Liberation.

After an afternoon of speeches in English and Spanish, the crowd was buoyed up to continue the long fight against SB4 and other racist policies of the Texas governor. Espinosa stressed, “The struggle may be long but we will win!”

 

Gloria Rubac

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Gloria Rubac

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