‘It’s all about humanity:’ Community members on West Side create memorial for migrant lives lost

As tensions continue to rise along the Texas-Mexico border, these community members say they want humanity to be the focus of immigration conversations

SAN ANTONIO – Rachel Campos said she’s trying to find strength in the unknown.

“It’s time to rise up,” Campos said. “We need to have a voice. And if you don’t have a voice, you have a lot of organizations that have a voice for you.”

Campos was one of the organizers of a memorial Saturday night at Escobar Park on the West Side. Through sharing art, culture, and education, Campos said the goal of the vigil was to honor migrants who have died and call attention to laws related to immigration making the journey more difficult.

“We want to bring awareness,” Campos said. The importance of today is to bring the community together.”

The remembrance event was put together by the Carnalismo Brown Berets, Oppressed Revolutionaries for Worker Power, Autonomous Brown Berets de San Anto, Domesticas Unidas, Brown Berets Organization, Kalpulli Ayolopaktzin, Esperanza Peace and Justice Center and San Anto Cultural Arts Center.

On display at the memorial were multiple crosses written out with the names and dates of migrants who have died. Other crosses were left blank, and Campos said that was done with a purpose.

“They don’t have any names or anything because we don’t know,” Campos said. “It’s all about respect. It’s all about humanity.”

This week, a new state law that increases sentences for human smuggling took effect. It’s just one of the multiple laws Gov. Greg Abbott has recently signed related to immigration.

“We’re all fighting for a safer, more secure border and country,” Abbott said during a press conference in Eagle Pass last weekend.

The San Antonio group that organized the memorial said they are most concerned with Senate Bill 4. It gives local law enforcement the authority to arrest people suspected of being in the country illegally. The Justice Department sued Texas to stop the law from taking effect in March, and other organizers of the event Saturday, like Rachell Tucker, said it’s one of the reasons she’s advocating.

“There’s nothing more powerful than people coming together,” Tucker said. “We express ourselves in all sorts of ways and that’s how we reach the most people.”

After Senate Bill 4 was signed into law, KSAT 12 looked into how local law enforcement agencies planned to enforce it. To read that story, click here.

About the Authors

Avery Everett is a news reporter and multimedia journalist at KSAT 12 News. Avery is a Philadelphia native. If she’s not at the station, she’s either on a hiking or biking trail. A lover of charcuterie boards and chocolate chip cookies, Avery’s also looking forward to eating her way through San Antonio, one taco shop at a time!

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