I'm from an East Texas farm family, on both sides. My parents raised us in a larger town about 20 miles away from the small town they both grew up in. Growing up, we'd visit both sets of grandfolks every week, out in the country where they lived. My dad's folks and my great-grandfather lived out on land that had been farmed in my family since the 1800's.
I spent a lot of time out there, as did the rest of my siblings and cousins, and by the time I was grown knew very well the history of my family on the land. And I feel attached to it now, even though I don't own it. I'm glad its there and that I have the freedom to roam it. I know I can hike through the woods if I want to, explore the creek bed when its dry, hang out by the pond, or climb the hill for a view of the whole thing--it's all still there, and accessible.
It would really tick me off if the U.S. Department of Homeland Security told me they were going to build a massive, towering steel wall through the middle of it--without even an opening to allow access between the two sides.
I can only imagine how Eloisa Tamez feels, considering thats exactly what's happening to her in the name of border security. The land in question has been in her family since the 1700's, as part of a land grant. Apparently, the Feds are constructing the border wall in Texas through private property, and people like Tamez are losing a big part of their heritage.
Here's an article I wrote about Tamez--her situation came to my attention because she got served a condemnation notice while at a conference yesterday here in Albuquerque.
For the article, I snapped a picture from a slideshow she had on a laptop, showing the border wall that's been constructed to the perimeter of her property--she's one of the last hold-outs in her community and says she's going to fight it to the end.
The Feds don't want all the land to the south of the fence. They just want a quarter acre for their wall. Tamez can hang on to the rest, they say.
Any of you who are familiar with rural environments probably recognize that barbed wire fence in the picture. It won't be so easy to bend the wire to squeeze through or hop over that massive monstrosity of a border wall, will it?
As many in East Texas would say, it ain't right, folks.
Friday, April 17, 2009