The next 72 hours will be an interesting one for our fair city.
The fallout from the increase in immigrants being processed here could come to a boil, especially after the contentious meeting held Wednesday night by Val Verde County officials.
Then today, a coalition of about 14 churches are gathering at the Dr. Alfredo Gutierrez Amphitheater to hold a prayer for the community. Some say it’s going to be about two hours, others say five hours. Either way, folks are encouraged to attend to offer prayer up for the city of Del Rio.
And while at least one spokesperson for the prayer event said the show of faith and unity is in no way tied to any other event, coincidentally, the amphitheater is the site of Del Rio’s first PRIDE event Saturday afternoon.
First off, I hope all three events go off without a hitch. Honestly and truly, our country is blessed to be able to have so many people with so many differing ideas. If we all thought the same, then we what would we talk about? What would rile us up to the point of wanting to exercise our First Amendment rights?
Now, the bad part about having so many differing events like these so close together is that the people who disagree will somehow, and in the most public fashion, will say the quiet part out loud. That is, they will be emboldened to say the hateful thing that fuels their disagreement loud enough for everyone to hear and turn their polite discourse into straight anger aimed at a particular race, people, sexual or religious orientation.
This weekend should be about love and understanding. And while I sound like some kind of hippie when I say that, I mean it. Religion is a thing that many people use to find peace in troubled times. It guides folks in the darkest hour and gives people safety and security when they think all is lost. That’s why the prayer for unity is totally welcome.
PRIDE events are a celebration of unity. They are about promoting an understanding between people, between humans, and not a demand for one group to be greater than any other group. In the wake of my last writings on the event, I’ve heard a lot of people say to me that people deserve to love whomever they want. That’s really what it comes down to, and yet that idea is still lost on some folks.
We have undocumented immigrants here being processed, looking for a way to leave and find family and begin a new life in a new country, and we still have people who will drive by the processing center and yell slurs and racial epithets towards them. Why? What kind of example does that set for the community? And that was law enforcement saying that was happening, and I have no reason to doubt their word because a friend of mine, a US Army veteran, was once yelled at as he walked down Las Vacas and told to “go back where you came from.”
This weekend, please take the time to reflect on your life, on your situation, and ask yourself if your life is so bad that you need to try and bring someone else down because you don’t agree with their religion, their lifestyle, their life story, their country of origin or, worst of all, the color of their skin.
If you still think you need to jump in your vehicle, head to one of these events and make a scene, then I know the next person these church groups need to pray for.