Today is my 32nd birthday, and I spent it on a bus going to and from New Orleans to protest Senate Bill 4 in front of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. (In fact, I am still on that bus as I write this.) I can't imagine a better way to spend a birthday.
Senate Bill 4 passed the Texas Legislature in May and was signed by the governor. It compels local law enforcement agencies enforce federal immigration law (regardless of what's in the best interest of their communities), and it allows law enforcement officers to racially profile Texans and ask for their "papers". Senate Bill 4 will split up families and encourage racial discrimination. However before it could go into effect, a coalition of communities and advocacy groups sued the State of Texas to block this discriminatory law, a fight that will likely go all the way to the Supreme Court.
So last night, dozens of Texans boarded buses in San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas (Thank you to the American Civil Liberties Union and Texas Organizing Project for arranging the buses!) and rode overnight to Louisiana. There we joined New Orleans activists and held a rally while the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments about the constitutionality of Senate Bill 4.
I don't know when we'll hear the outcome of today's arguments, and this is certainly not the last time a court will rule on this law. But once again Texas has sent a message that we will not be divided by hate. We will stand up for our own rights and for our neighbors' rights again and again, as many times at it takes. Today we stood for immigrants. Tomorrow we may stand for the LGBTQ community, or women, or workers, or people of color.
And that's the best birthday present I could ask for: seeing the resilience, hope, and determination of my fellow Texans as they push back against hate and fight for a better future for each and every Texan.
¡Sí, se puede!