Christine Bolaños covers human interest, social & criminal justice, education & business news for international, national & local outlets. IWMF Fellow-El Salvador. NAHJ Austin VP-Print. Bilingual.
According to recent reports, former Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to attempt to portray undocumented immigrants swept up in mass raids earlier this year as criminals, despite claiming the arrests were motivated by public safety concerns.
Megan Martinez was raised in the south Texas coastal city of Corpus Christi by a free-spirited mother who often dated abusive men. She endured physical and sexual abuse, grew up poor, and as a teenager, rebelled by getting tattoos and sporting a punk hairstyle. After both her mother and grandmother kicked Martinez out of their homes, she tried to make rent for on her apartment working minimum wage gigs. Eventually, she wound up homeless and dropped out of high school. But after struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, she found an outlet in make up artistry – which helped her get her life on a positive track.
This Latina Activist Travels from Corpus Christi to Austin Every Week to Learn How to Organize Her Community
Raised by a former county commissioner and a retired district judge, Analicia Bañales is no stranger to politics. But when President Donald Trump was elected to office last November, it struck a chord. She realized even the best progressive candidates would find it nearly impossible to get elected and effect change without support from voters. With internships, study abroad experiences, campaigning, and rallies under her belt, Analicia was ready to take the next step. She enrolled in the Jolt Organizing Institute – held by Jolt, a progressive nonprofit focused on mobilizing Latinos – to learn how to become an effective community organizer.
Efre is based on Rosa, a real-life undocumented mother in Austin, and her children Alejandro and Karla. The mural tells Rosa’s story and that of many immigrant mothers in Austin and beyond. It is a symbol and a reminder of the sacrifices these mothers make to give their children a better future, and of their vital role as centers of their communities.