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Together Juntos Caravan Comes To Houston To Inform About SB4

The organizers held several events in our city, which they consider the transition point for a second phase that will travel throughout the rest of Texas

The organizers of the Together Juntos caravan held a training that included information about SB4. The training took place on April 12, 2018, at Houston Gateway Academy, located in the southeast section of the city.

The Together Juntos caravan arrived Thursday in Houston to culminate the first phase of an initiative its organizers are focusing on informing Texans about SB4, the state law that allows local law enforcement officers to inquire about immigration status. Juntos means Together in Spanish.

The caravan began on March 30 in El Paso and has visited several cities and towns, including Alpine, Corpus Christi, Del Rio and Eagle Pass, among others.

The initiative consists of presentations about the law, which targets so-called sanctuary cities, and trainings on how people who think they can be impacted by it can protect themselves.

A welcoming tone

“The tone has been very welcoming. I think that there is this hunger and need for information and to know ‘What can I do?’ or ‘How do I support my community?’ And so, I think, in general, people have been very, you know, have been very open to having conversations,” said Adriana Cadena, statewide coordinator for the Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance (RITA), which is affiliated with the Border Network for Human Rights, the main organizer of the caravan.

The members of the caravan held three events in Houston: a meeting with local organizations that are involved in the protection of immigrant communities, a training at a local school and a rally downtown.

The meeting took place at 1 p.m. at the local office of the AFL-CIO, located in southeast Houston.

Cadena explained one of the main goals was that people who are participating in the caravan talked about their experiences so far, including their interactions with public officials and residents of border towns they have visited. Making contacts with representatives of Houston-based organizations was also an objective.

The training took place at Houston Gateway Academy, also in southeast Houston, at 4 p.m. and focused on human and civil rights that can help an individual “protect” himself or herself in case he or she thinks is being unfairly treated based on what SB4 stipulates.

Mixed families

Cadena emphasized the caravan wants to get in touch with “mixed families”, which are those that can have members who are U.S. born, others who are legal permanent residents and others who are undocumented.

The final action held on Thursday was a rally that took place in front of Houston's City Hall and that the local group Immigrant Families and Students in the Struggle (commonly known as FIEL by its Spanish acronym) helped to organize.

“We hope that we may conclude the first leg of the caravan here and continue during the summer to the rest of the state to provide valuable know your rights training as well as valuable information or organizing to the rest of the state. We hope that this may spark confidence and hope in our community so we may continue the fight for liberty and justice for all,” said César Espinosa, FIEL's executive director.

The caravan's organizers have said Houston is the transition point to the second phase of the initiative, which intends to travel throughout the "interior" of the state visiting cities such as Austin, Dallas and San Antonio, as well as the Texas panhandle.

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