They followed their colorful display with a march to meet with lawmakers.
Yesterday, visitors to the Texas State Capitol in Austin were treated to a beautiful, if not confusing, sight. 15 teen girls wearing traditional quinceañera gowns performed dances on the steps before making their way through the building itself. The elaborate production served to protest SB 4, the so-called “sanctuary cities bill.”
The bill, signed into law on May 7, allows law enforcement officers to request proof of residency during any detention and threatens police chiefs with jail time if they forbid their officers from engaging immigration enforcement activities. The bill will go into effect Sept. 1, 2017.
“In Latino culture, Quinceañeras are an important tradition that highlight the bonds of family, community, culture and bring people together through celebration.
This is the spirit of the Quinceañera at the Capitol event: to celebrate the resistance to SB4 by highlighting our commitment to our communities and culture. After all, SB4 isn’t just about politics: it will sow fear and distrust into our communities and break apart our families. To resist this harmful and hateful law, we will draw on the incredible power within the very communities that SB4 will affect.”
While the finished result may appear effortless, preparation for the demonstration required practice and coordination.
During their time in the spotlight, the girls danced to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)” and “Somos Mas Americanos” by Los Tigres del Norte. Once the dancing and processions outside were completed, the girls filed into the building in spectacular fashion to meet with legislators to convey their objections to the impending law.
Magdalena Juarez, a 17-year-old participant, said on the steps of the Capitol, "When Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law on May 7, he disrespected my community. He put a lot of Texas in danger. SB 4 is not only an attack on immigrant communities; it threatens the lives of all people of color."
It’s unlikely that any action at this late stage will prevent the law from taking effect, but the colorful display certainly drew attention to the objections that the girls voiced.