San Antonio, TX - Rally for Reform

San Antonio Immigration Rally at San Lorenzo Parish

Written by: Sister Sharon Altendorf, PBVM

June 9, 2013

What a warm San Antonio welcome – feeling like 105 said one of our group! And yet Mariachis played, serenading amazingly diverse peoples waiting OUTSIDE the church under tents – bringing us water and umbrellas to protect us. The San Antonio community people included: Patricia Mejia and Lorena Gonzalez, NETWORK board members; local union leaders; Latino families; new City Council member Rebecca Viagran; and Congressmen Castro & Gallego. San Antonio is a hub for women religious, which was obvious by their presence.

Many of us were brought to tears by the strong voice of a young Latina child singing the Star Spangled Banner and Representative Gallego with his son hanging on him as he changed his planned remarks to say that at the birth of his son he understood that a father would do everything possible to feed and care for that child. Congressman Castro called on Senators Cornyn and Cruz to remember that they are representing the people of Texas. A passionate DREAMer spoke of coming to the U.S. at the age of 6 and the lack of respect for her father when he needed serious medical emergency attention. And yet, she said “our country” when speaking of this country as the home she has known.

Sister Simone greeted everyone, speaking both in Spanish and English as is customary here, alerting us to the most recent surprising endorsements of comprehensive immigration reform. She encouraged everyone to do “missionary work” in spreading the need for comprehensive immigration reform, even explaining how to text 877 877 NUNS and telling our senators what we expect of them.

Visiting with people is always a reality experience. Today, a woman spoke of watching her son-in-law go through the immigration process. Long, long lines of people wearing sneakers with backpacks in the hot sun for hours on end were waiting patiently to be called forward with the results. Then she noticed that as they felt closer to receiving approval, people started to open their backpacks and pull out high heels and good shoes to walk forward for those papers. – as she said, “Putting their best foot forward into a new birth.”

The San Antonio Spurs are playing in the NBA finals and so the crowd knew the rousing cry: “Go Spurs Go.” Tom Cummins, the head of the local AFL-CIO introduced a new slogan - “Go Nuns Go” - as they sent us on to Laredo and the border.