‘To bring hope and bring harmony’: San Antonio teen uses her art to push humanity as SCOTUS pauses Senate Bill 4

The law would let state and local police arrest people suspected of entering the U.S. illegally

SAN ANTONIO – Victoria Leal said her age is only a number.

“I use my voice by drawing,” Leal said. “That’s how I represent people and how I show people what I feel.”

Leal, 18, said she painted a mural to discuss the need for humanity when addressing the border crisis. It’s been the backdrop of migrant vigils on the West Side and immigration panel discussions at the Esperanza Center.

“The meaning is to bring peace and harmony together and no violence,” Leal said.

This comes as the U.S. Supreme Court still has a hold on Senate Bill 4, which is the law that would let state and local police arrest people suspected of entering the country illegally. The pause prevents the immigration law from taking effect until at least Monday.

It was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott last year. Abbott said it would help deter illegal crossings at the Texas-Mexico border.

“We’re all fighting for a safer, more secure border and country,” Abbott said during a press conference at the border in early February.

Luissana Santibanez, an organizer with the Esperanza Center, said engaging youth in these conversations about immigration is one of her priorities.

“These laws affect our children. They affect our babies,” Santibanez said.

And, she said Leal’s mural started a conversation she could never imagine.

“What she drew up brought everyone to tears,” Santibanez said.

It’s only one mural, but Leal said her message from it is clear.

“I want it to represent my family when they were field workers. And I also want it to represent how people feel at the border right now,” Leal said. “It’s all to bring hope and to bring harmony to people.”

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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