“DEFUND THE WALL, FUND OUR FUTURE” mural painting set for Saturday across from Federal Courthouse

Blocks from the U.S.-Mexico border on the doorstep of the U.S. federal courthouse, local residents will paint a massive street mural this weekend to send a message to the U.S. government that this South Texas border community is overwhelmingly against the proposed border wall.

The 30 x 450-foot mural was approved unanimously by the Laredo City Council on July 27.

“All Americans believe that we should have a say in the decisions that impact our lives.” said riverfront landowner and activist Raquel De Anda. ”We’re sending a message loud and clear to the federal government that border communities do not want or need this wall.”

Brenda Tijerina, an artist and architecture student, gave details on the project. “We chose to make the letters 30 feet wide for a reason. We wanted to show people how large the wall would be,” Tijerina said. “If you think that’s big, realize that this is just paint lying flat on the ground, not sticking up in the air like a prison wall.”

“We are painting this mural out of love for our community,” said Antonio “Tony” Briones III, veteran mural artist. “This is a message to protect our city and defend our families, our neighbors, and our river, which are being threatened by this wall. Politicians in D.C. don’t listen to us, so we’re using art to give our people a voice.”

The mural is being painted by volunteers. Funding for all materials, supplies, security, permits and fees are being raised from everyday people in the local community. No city funds are being used for the mural. COVID safety guidelines will be strictly observed.

“The mural says ‘fund our future’ because we aren’t just going to cancel the wall,” said Tricia Cortez, executive director of the Rio Grande International Study Center. “We’re demanding that they redirect that money to build a healthy, safe, and vibrant future for Laredo, and all border communities.”

Riverfront landowner and RGISC Board President Melissa R. Cigarroa agreed. “Even DHS thinks that this wall is not justified,” Cigarroa said, citing a recent scathing report by the Office of the Inspector General.  “Why are we wasting taxpayer money on a half-billion dollar political prop and photo op?”

“Border communities have 99 needs,” added filmmaker Gabriela A. Treviño. “A wall ain’t one of them.”

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