Image: by Bryan Ramos

The Rally to Save Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge brings people together

By Bryan Ramos

H

undreds gathered at ground zero of Trump’s proposed border wall this morning for the Stop the Wall: Rally to Save Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, showing South Texas won’t bow out without a fight.

The rally took place in the field directly next to the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, which is the home to endangered species, rare plants and some of the most beautiful sights Texas has to offer. The refuge is also the first place in the United States that would see three miles of Trump’s border wall built directly through it.

That’s why people of all ages showed up with smiles on their faces and fire in their hearts. The passion was apparent from the live music, poetry readings and guest speakers who voiced their opinions in various forms to loud applause and cheers from the crowd.

Stephanie Alvarez, an associate professor at UTRGV, was accompanied by her two daughters, Tatiana and Amaya Martinez-Alvarez, who were inspired to create their own signs stating their stance against the border wall.

Stephanie Alvarez (middle) is joined by her daughters Tatiana and Amaya at the Stop the Wall: Rally to Save Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. | Photo by Bryan Ramos

“I’m really proud of them, that they’re involved in the community and that they take an interest in what’s happening around the country and politically, and that they know there’s things that are more important than just themselves,” Alvarez said. “It’s very important for me and that they’re involved. They came up with what they wanted to put on their posters and I’m very happy and very proud.”

Tatiana said she was there because, “I don’t want the animals and people to be broken away from everything they know.”

U.S. Congressman Filemon Vela, one of the border wall’s biggest opponents in congress, was on hand to speak to the people and area he represents.

Image: U.S. Congressman Filemon Vela speaks to a crowd of hundreds during the Stop the Wall: Rally to Save Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. | Photo by Bryan Ramos

“My opposition to the border wall goes back a long way and it’s really simple,” Vela said. “This country, where our ancestors came from, it’s not Russia, it’s not China, it’s Mexico. It’s our third largest trading partner, our second largest import-export market, and the idea that we would construct physical barriers between two allies just doesn’t make any sense.”

There were also speeches delivered by DACA recipients, the Chair of the Carrizo Comercrudo Tribe, members of La Union del Pueblo Entero and environmental organizations like the Texas Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Refuge Association.

These organizations and hundreds of people joined together to protect the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge and the place they call home from an unnecessary border wall further dividing America.

“For me, this isn’t about being Democrat, being Republican; this is about being a human once again,” said Juan Mancias, Chair of the Carrizo Comercrudo Tribe. “That land, it’s sacred to us.”

Image: Juan Mancias, Chair of the Carrizo Comercrudo Tribe speaks to a crowd of hundreds during the Stop the Wall: Rally to Save Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge.

The refuge covers 2,088 acres and is home to 400 different species of birds and 450 species of plants. It is also home to the ocelot, an endangered wild cat whose population is decreasing. There are reportedly around 50 ocelots remaining in the U.S.

The border wall is estimated to cost $25 billion and take 3 and ½ years to build, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a price much higher than the $12 billion Trump said during his campaign. That’s the same wall Trump said Mexico would pay for, but since that’s not happening, he’s now trying to dip into the pockets of U.S. taxpayers to fund his barrier.

The Stop the Wall: Rally to Save Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge listed solidarity actions for those looking to get involved:

  • Spread the word about Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge
  • Make calls to Congress
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local paper
  • Host a postcard party

For more actions visit: http://bit.ly/SantaAnaSolidarityActions

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here