June 20, a number of children’s activists and concerned citizens from San Antonio including me, boarded a chartered bus to go down to McAllen that took us 5 hours just to get there. Can you Say “exhausted?” Before we left San Antonio a few of our people riding the chartered bus were interviewed by either WOAI Channel 4 Reporter Renee Santos, Kens 5 Eyewitness News reporter Charlie Cooper, and photographers from KSAT 12, Univision 41, Telemundo 60, Spectrum and others. Grace Hernandez who organized the trip was interviewed by more than one station each. La Prensa Texas Publisher Steve Duran was there to see us off. He couldn’t go since the paper had a deadline that day to meet so the issue would be ready by Sunday. He even led the group in prayer before we got on the bus and headed out. When we arrived we disembarked to attend a vigil and show support with local residents for the scared little ones being trapped in cages there in McAllen! We eventually left the city very late and arrived back in the Alamo City the next morning. The entire trip took 15 hours by the time we hit the San Antonio city limits. But it was worth it. Numerous members in our group on the bus were frequently checking their phones for weather updates on flooding in our destination.
My wife called me and said there was severe flooding in that area. As we progressed we noticed the increase in rain. On our drive we did stop at a Taco Restaurant long enough to eat before going to the Park, not too far away. Two men were behind us in line and I talked with them while we waited sharing why we were in town. When they found out what we were doing, they paid the whole tab for the group. Karlo Rodriguez who does taped interviews for La Prensa Texas interviewed the two men at the restaurant and the tape is on the La Prensa Texas website. Much later at the rally at Archer Park 500+ turned out despite the bad rainy weather. By the time we arrived it settled down until we were getting ready to board the bus to return home. Many of our people were moving quickly to get back on the bus. A number of them brought umbrellas. Unfortunately a number of us did not. Speakers at the Gazebo in Archer Park included a Priest, Archbishop, and a Rabbi among others. Lots of Nuns were participating as well. Catholic school children were in full force along with many young ones that were Hispanic, White and Black. Grandparents and parents had grand kids and kids of all ages.
Lots of prayers were voiced during the vigil. When it concluded nearly an hour later, the large crowd marched quietly in a procession three blocks to the Federal Courthouse to make a point. Police were observing the crowd intensely and even had police cars flashing red lights on the side of the road. No incidents or loud rhetoric as all were participating respectfully. It was a quiet ride back to San Antonio. On the ride home we were temporarily detained by the Border Patrol to check if we were American citizens. An agent came on to the bus and bluntly asked that question. When I was asked that question I blurted out without thinking, “I am a Bolillo!” He laughed and then I asked him if I could take his photo. He agreed and I grabbed my camera. Suddenly others asked if they could take a photo with him. He obliged and I handed my camera to the guy across the aisle from me to take our picture as well. When he snapped the photo, two others had jumped behind us and got into the photo! During the trip I took over300 photos. You can check them out on my website: http:// www.walkerreport.net.
Meanwhile Sunday June 24, 600+ gathered at San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio for another prayer vigil. People brought signs and banners reflecting their support for the children incarcerated at detention centers in Texas and elsewhere. A church lady who served as the main coordinator read from a script, paused for silence along with the crowd and began the process a few more times. A priest then prayed with the gathering and then called up little children to stand by him and prayer with him. Former Councilwoman Maria Berriozabal also addressed crowd. The media covered the vigil and interviewed some of the crowd for comments. San Antonio can be proud standing up for the children who were wrongly put in detention centers and separated from their parents. And as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”
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