- For one day each year, the borders are erased between Lajitas and Paso Lajitas, Mexico (0:15).
- A recent graduate from the University of Texas at San Antonio shares her story of moving to San Antonio to escape war-torn Syria (6:55).
- We go on a tour of San Antonio’s Westside. It’s one of the poorest parts of San Antonio, but it’s rich in culture (11:30).
Fiesta Fronteriza Blurs Borders
Every year in the tiny border town of Lajitas — located about 300 miles southeast of El Paso — hundreds gather to celebrate, remember and protest the closing of the area’s border passage. For decades, U.S. tourists and locals used to cross freely over the Rio Grande into Pasos Lajitas, Mexico.
But that changed in May 2002, when the federal government abruptly closed the informal passage. The small community that Lajitas shared with its Mexican neighbor was cut in half. But the annual Voices From Both Sides serves as a reunion. Contributor Natalie Krebs reports on the one-day event that’s now in its sixth year.
Ranad Humeidiis is a recent graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio and hopes to one day become a physician scientist. Like many college students, she overcame various obstacles to achieve her degree. But unlike many of her fellow classmates, Humeidi’s story begins in Aleppo, Syria. Texas Public Radio’s Camille Phillips brings us this report.
Paseo Por ‘El Westside’: A Tour of San Antonio’s Hidden Cultural Gem
The Westside of San Antonio — or “El Westside,” as residents call it — is a 93 percent Hispanic, working-class neighborhood. It’s also one of the poorest in Bexar County with 41 percent of residents in the 78207 zip code living in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
But it’s also a neighborhood connected by corner stores, shotgun houses, theaters, and most importantly, its people.
The Westside became segregated and economically stifled by the interstate system in the 1960s, which effectively cut it off from nearby downtown, according to the San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation. And later urban renewal efforts led to the destruction of decades-old buildings and homes.
When a 1920s-era service station and dance hall known as La Gloria was demolished in 2002, the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center stepped up to lobby for the preservation of old, working class structures to protect the community’s culture and history.
On a chilly day in April, the Esperanza hosted a walking tour of the Westside to introduce newcomers and reintroduce former Westsiders to the neighborhood.