“DEFUND THE WALL, FUND OUR FUTURE,” massive street mural completed
More than 100 masked volunteers took to the streets of Laredo over the weekend to send a powerful message to Washington DC: “Defund The Wall” and instead “Fund Our Future.” People of all ages, including a group of grandmothers and numerous children, celebrated on Sunday morning the completion of the monumental project. They called upon the U.S.government to halt the heavily political project, and reprioritize the proposed half a billion in taxpayer funds for Laredo to meet the community’s actual needs.
Inspired by the vibrant street murals that have appeared in more than 30 cities to protest racial injustice and demand a more just, equal society, the No Border Wall Laredo Coalition felt it was time that to enter this national conversation and demand that people living on the US-Mexico Border be treated as fully vested, fully equal American citizens.
As Laredo becomes the new Ground Zero in the battle over the border wall, a local movement has grown and intensified, galvanized by a growing number of activists and everyday people who are appalled by the federal government’s plans for this historic South Texas community.
The project entails a 30-foot prison wall, surrounded by a new 150-foot wide security enforcement zone that would carve a path of destruction through the 265 year old riverside city, and almost completely cut off residents from the Rio Grande, the region’s No. 1 natural asset.
The Laredo City Council unanimously approved the mural on July 27. A team of local residents and artists designed the bright yellow project using vivid symbolism: the width of the letters, 30 ft, represents the height of the proposed wall; the yellow rose represents the state of Texas; and the mural’s placement in front of the U.S. federal courthouse on Victoria St. (“victory” in English) speaks to the group’s aim of sending a message to DC.
Ultimately, however, the street mural is a message of hope, that the community is rising up to protect their city, defend their river, and fundamentally shift how the border is viewed and treated by Washington.
To date, the administration has awarded $560.5 million to two out-of-state contractors to build 31 miles on land that the government does not even own. For the cost of a single mile of wall, Laredo could afford to build and operate a new trauma center for three years rather than airlift people to nearby cities for emergency treatment; one mile could also fund a $4,000 salary increase for all public school teachers in Webb and Zapata counties; or provide full tuition for an associates degree at Laredo College for all graduating Laredo seniors for the next 10 years. (Full “Fund Our Future” report here)
“The wall is not a done deal; the administration is trying to rush to make it happen before the election for obvious political reasons, but it didn’t expect so much resistance,” said Maxine Rebeles, a military veteran and public school teacher. “It’s a high stakes poker game and the people are the ones who hold the aces. This is about us taking back control of our own story, our lands, and our future.”
Veteran public artist Antonio “Tony” Briones III described the mural as “a message of love for our community.” He added: “When the government tries to silence the people art is what gives people a voice and powerful platform to speak truth to power.”
Veterans United To Stop The Wall is a new wing of the No Border Wall Coalition and is composed of Laredo veterans young and old, both men and women, from different political parties, who served in every branch of the military. Official statement by Veterans United To Stop The Wall - hyperlink https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JlgOHsUQE2edU4IRrlaK3ZoSqGfhcmY_/view “We joined […]
More than 100 masked volunteers took to the streets of Laredo over the weekend to send a powerful message to Washington DC: “Defund The Wall” and instead “Fund Our Future.” People of all ages, including a group of grandmothers and numerous children, celebrated on Sunday morning the completion of the monumental project. They called […]