Category: News

Spring graduation falls shy of fall semester

Spring graduation falls shy of fall semester

By David Gomez Jr.
Editor-in-chief
Published Monday, May 11, 2020 

This spring’s graduation occurs at the beginning of the fall semester on Thursday, Aug. 13, at the Sames Auto Arena, due to the pandemic.

On April 17, Texas A&M International University President Pablo Arenaz, appeared in a video in full regalia, in front of the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts organ, speaking to the 50th graduating class in TAMIU history. He said the graduation ceremony, along with summer commencement exercises, would be postponed until mid-August before the start of the fall semester because of the coronavirus pandemic affecting day-to-day routines.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on life as we know it,” Arenaz told viewers of the video. “… The senior class of 2020, you have seen your last semester delivered online, and the traditions and celebrations that have always framed the senior year experience either canceled or postponed.”

Soon after saying so, Arenaz offered some good news that the postponed ceremony would still be held at the Sames Auto Arena, as so for the past four years.

“For we are TAMIU together, always,” Arenaz added.

Then around May 7, Arenaz spoke again in another video. This time in a full suit and tie, inside the Great Hall on the third floor of the Sue & Radcliffe Killam Library.

He brought up again the bittersweetness of graduation from the presentation of the flags representing various students’ countries, the student respondent speech’s heartfelt words and the roaring cannons of confetti that spray on the graduates.

Though, his new message was directly to the point–conferring of the students’ degrees.

“So by the authority vested in me, by the Chancellor, and by the Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University System, acting under the enabling legislation establishing this University, I hereby confer upon each of you the degree to which you are entitled with all its rights, privileges and responsibilities,” Arenaz said, concluding with “Congratulations!”

Arenaz then went on to say, “You have a bright future ahead of you. You have been prepared by outstanding faculty to enter the workforce, graduate or professional school …”

This message of good will was sent to all of the graduating class of 2020, but when unemployment currently resides at more than 20 percent due to the pandemic, Arenaz’s message falls on the fearful ears of job seekers.

“It … sucks,” former editor-in-chief of The Bridge and fall 2019 TAMIU graduate Matthew Balderas said about the current job market.

“I had one official job offer from a TV company and made it to second-round interviews with the Houston Astros and had just secured an interview with the Houston Dynamo right before they decided to suspend the sports season,” Balderas said.

“Unfortunately, the job offer and interviews fell through but I’m hoping once this is all over, I can backpack up where I left off, if at all possible.”

For some, Arenaz’s message of “graduate or professional school” might feel like a safer route.

“For now, I have entered into a master’s program with TAMIU for my MBA [with a] concentration of international business for the upcoming Fall 2020 semester,” Balderas said.

As of now, with businesses opening throughout Texas, and across the nation, no one knows what summer has in store.

“Our commitment on this is clear, but I must caution that we will not proceed should public health conditions force us to revisit the plan,” Arenaz said, regarding the rescheduled commencement.

“Class of 2020, I look forward to handing you your diplomas.”

For the latest updates, visit the dedicated commencement website at www.tamiu.edu/commencment/

Share

$4.75 million TAMIU CARES Program grants emergency funds to students

$4.75 million TAMIU CARES Program grants emergency funds to students

By Jessica Rodriguez
Director of Photography
Published Monday, May 4, 2020

On April 24, TAMIU announced it will give emergency grants to students thanks to the TAMIU CARES Program. These funds could begin disbursing to applicants as early as May 8.

As one of the many universities which received this emergency grant from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act approved by the Department of Education, Texas A&M International University was awarded $9 million. This amount was based on the number of students enrolled who qualify for the Pell Grant and those who do not. According to the CARES Act, the money would be split in half so $4.75 million will go to the university and the other half provided to students in the form of grants, refunds, loan forgiveness or campus-based waivers.

TAMIU President Pablo Arenaz said this emergency aid would help students directly affected by COVID-19.

“Thousands of TAMIU students and their families have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Arenaz began in an email sent to students, faculty and staff. “ Some students may even be questioning their ability to continue their degree dream. The availability of this assistance will be a welcome relief and we are thankful to our congressional delegation for their leadership on this.”

Those interested may look up additional information at https://www.tamiu.edu/cares/.

Jessica Rodriguez | Bridge Photo Illustration
A TAMIU student reviews the TAMIU CARES Emergency Funds website for the spring semester.

Because of this aid, the University set up the TAMIU CARES Emergency Fund. The money would go directly into the form of emergency grants distributed during the spring, summer and fall semesters for 2020. In order to access these grants, students must apply through an online application. TAMIU requested students apply through this application with supporting documentation of unforeseen hardships due to COVID-19, which include: food insecurity, urgent medical expenses, utility bills, school expenses, and on-campus and off-campus housing. Other requirements may apply.

In addition, students must have a FAFSA file with TAMIU or be eligible for Title IV student assistance.  TAMIU Finance Director Laura Elizondo said TAMIU has 5,760 students who currently meet Title IV eligibility and can qualify for this grant. However, some students have not started or completed their FAFSA, so that number might increase or change. As of last week, about 1,478 students applied but numbers continue to increase.

Elizondo said she and the committee in charge of the TAMIU CARES Program are looking closely at the applications and said all details are important in determining whether a student is eligible for the grant. She said some applications show students focused on their needs for the spring semester, while others did not.

“There’s a lot of students who are submitting, ‘I need help in the summer for tuition,, well this is not the summer right now,” she said. “Anybody who’s submitting right now for applications for summer or next fall they will close up the application and let the students know at this time we’re not processing summer applications. You need to wait and come back and apply later in May. Right now, we have to concentrate and pay out our spring needs.”

She said they are focusing on students who expressed urgent need of funds.

“If you do not own a computer and now you have to work from home and you use a credit card to purchase a computer, that’s a perfect item that we can help reimburse you for,” Elizondo said. “If you do not have internet at home and now you have to add it, that is a perfect item that we can help you pay for. So some students are giving us a lot of [information] while others are not saying much.”

Jessica Rodriguez | Bridge Photo Illustration
A TAMIU student reviews the TAMIU CARES Emergency Funds website for the spring semester.

Moreover, she said if a student does not submit enough documentation for a claim, the committee will contact that student with an email or mobile phone number on file and allow them 48 hours to resubmit any photos of bills or proof to tamiucares@tamiu.edu and someone there will upload the documents for them onto their application.

Elizondo said the first round of funds will go out at the end of the week, possibly May 8 and onward.

For those who do not receive any money for the spring semester, they can still apply for the summer and fall if they are enrolled for classes. The summer application opens up on May 18 and August 17 for fall. Elizondo said summer applications will process through the end of May, June, July and even August because of the different summer sessions students might be enrolled.

She also said it is extremely important for students to apply because this money goes directly to them.

“Students don’t have to confirm what they use [the money] for,” Elizondo said. “If the student said they need it because x,y, z and then they get the money and something else happens and they need it for something else, that is their prerogative. They decide. They don’t have to come back and give us any type of proof of what they used it for.”

A BankMobile account is recommended in order to receive the funds. She encourages people to be patient and know that the University is doing everything it can to help the students during this time.

In addition, students can still apply for other grants like the Student Emergency Grant, the Texas A&M University System Emergency Regent’s Grant and the Lamar Bruni Vergara Emergency Fund—all with their own eligibility requirements.

Share

Stimulus package falls short for many college students

Stimulus package falls short for many college students

By Alejandro Hernandez
Bridge Staff Writer
and
By Jessica Rodriguez
Director of Photography
Published Monday, May 4, 2020

On March 26, Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The CARES Act bill secured $1,200 for U.S. citizens ages 18 and older and $500 for every dependent child 16 years and younger as a stimulus payment in April.

While some received their checks through direct deposit, a large population still awaits theirs. Many college students became disappointed to find out they would not receive financial assistance through the stimulus. The bill did not guarantee a payment made for those claimed as a dependent on a federal tax return; this includes a significant number of college students. Even if these students are financially independent of their parents and filed their own taxes, their parents could still claim them.

According to the U.S. Department of Treasury, “The CARES Act provides for Economic Impact Payments to American households of up to $1,200 per adult for individuals whose income was less than $99,000 ( or $198,000 for joint filers) and $500 per child under 17 years old–or up to $3,400 for a family of four.” Thus, these young adults are left out: they are too old for the parents who claimed them to receive $500 for the claimed dependent and since they were claimed as a dependent, they do not qualify for the $1,200 stimulus payment.

Some of these young college students are part of the most disadvantaged populations in the country. Riled with student debt and college fees, many struggle to live on a weekly basis. A large percentage of college students work in service industry jobs, an industry hit hard by recent events, which led to many layoffs.

Sergio Martinez, double major in political science and history, said he was not eligible for the stimulus package since he is a permanent resident, a non-citizen with a Green Card or visa.

“I, unfortunately, was not eligible for the stimulus,” Martinez said. “Personally, my family was hit by [COVID-19] as one of my parents was furloughed and well, bills keep stacking up.”

He said although he was ineligible for the stimulus package, he plans to apply for the TAMIU CARES Grant, which is $9 million provided by the U.S. Department of Education to TAMIU. Half of those funds are earmarked to help students who suffered economic hardships due to COVID-19.

 “I do plan on applying for the CARES Grant,” he said. “I hope to take online classes and the money would come in handy for small repairs at home and to pay the summer tuition. Should I get the grant, I would definitely use it to ‘fix some holes’ around the house, not fall behind on rent and reinvest it for summer classes.”

On the other hand, some TAMIU students received the stimulus check, but many believe a one-time payment is not enough to carry them throughout the summer. Many students have overdue bills to pay or family members to take care of.

Psychology major Javier Lopez said he was able to file as an independent and got the stimulus check after moving out of his parent’s house. Still, he plans to apply for the TAMIU grant.

“I am the only person that is working from my family, so everyone relies on me currently for bills and basic needs,” Lopez said. “I plan on [applying], but the grant asks for past due bills. I luckily am not in that situation, but I could definitely use the help because I have been managing by a thread.”

He continued, saying TAMIU should focus on the well being of students at this time. He explains that many students, such as himself, have taken on more hours at work to help their family members who lost their jobs. Now, more than ever, money is heavy on students’ minds.

“Depending on how everything turns out, if necessary, I am willing to take a semester off to financially stabilize myself,” Lopex said.

Currently, a bill introduced by Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, and Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., known as the Emergency Money for The People Act might help those left out by the stimulus bill. It aims to give a supplemental $2,000 payment for at least six months to ensure financial stability to all U.S citizens ages 16 and up and $500 for each child, to a maximum of three. The new bill would provide payments to college students and adults with disabilities, even if claimed as a dependent. However, as the White House moves to reopen the country, chances of a new stimulus bill for the public could remain low.

A new stimulus package could mean the public would not have to return to work to pay expenses. Furthermore, supplementing state and local governments would also allow cities to extend lock-down periods, keeping businesses closed and people at home. To be sure, there is no evidence yet to support what additional lock-down time could do to the U.S. economy. As business continues to decline, so does the tax revenue from which these stimulus payments are funded.

Share

PHOTO GALLERY: Pandemic life

PHOTO STORY: Pandemic life

By Jessica Rodriguez
Director of Photography
and
Alejandro Hernandez
Bridge Staff Writer
Published Monday, May 4, 2020

Share

BUSINESSES & VIRUSES: Local business owners adjust to trying times – Part 1

BUSINESSES & VIRUSES: Local business owners adjust to trying times

Laredo funeral home follows ordinances

By David Gomez Jr.
Editor-in-chief
Published Monday, April 27, 2020

[Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories on local businesses and how they are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.]

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption for most local businesses, which are  adjusting to the times and new ordinances.

Fred Dickey Funeral & Cremation Services made adjustments to observe the nation’s quarantine and city ordinances to further prevent the spread of coronavirus at public events. This Laredo business operated under different names, and management, since the 19th century.

Bridge | Jessica Rodriguez
Fred Dickey Funeral & Cremation Services on April 19.

Vice President of funeral and cremation services, and second-generation Funeral Director Fred Dickey III knew it was only a matter of time before it would affect his business in a different way.

At funerals, mourners tend to be affectionate with one another to comfort each other in a time of sorrow. This means handshakes, hugs and kisses on the cheek are prohibited. At least in the meantime. Social distancing, the act of keeping a relatively safe distance of 6 feet or more, is enforced inside the funeral home and parlor.

“You can’t quarantine love,” Dickey said.

“To protect ourselves, and the community, we plan the arrangements with one family member or two, but no more than that,” he said. “We also provide 2 gallons of sanitizer, wear masks and follow further ordinances when they are made known.”

Currently, none of his staff tested positive for the virus or showed symptoms of being infected with the disease, he said.

“Thank God, nobody in our staff has contracted or [gotten] sick [with] COVID,” Dickey said, “and It’s not beneath us to keep people as safe as possible.”

That does not include the sanitizing stations at the entrance of the chapel, which serve like holy water in a Catholic church. They thoroughly clean every pew, toilet seat, sink, doorknob and break room.

Of course, as with many businesses, there are a select few who can enter an establishment. This holds true to funeral homes as well. They only allow immediate family members.

“There is no guest book for 10 people or less,” Dickey said. “Service, or public viewings, can be arranged at a later date if they would like and have burial or cremation now. Some people are traditional.”

For now, under the obituary section on the Dickey website, the funeral service can be seen through a live stream, or private server If the family prefers.

“[In northern areas,] I’ve seen jumbo-trons outside and that was something we didn’t want,” he said. “To have a large gathering outside the funeral home defeats the purpose of social distancing.”

Employees use usher ropes to further enforce social distancing in the parlor.  That includes the departed as well, as there is a barrier between the casket and the family.

“We treat every case as if it were a COVID case,” Dickey said.

“We want to offer the community that they will be safe at our establishment,” he added.

Share

BUSINESSES & VIRUSES: Local business owners adjust to trying times – Part 2

BUSINESSES & VIRUSES: Local business owners adjust to trying times

Korean BBQ keeps same tastes

By David Gomez Jr.
Editor-in-chief
Published Monday, April 27, 2020

[Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of stories on local businesses and how they are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.]

Korean BBQ continues to serve Laredo one meal at a time, despite the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on its business.

Owner Carrie Park started the business at the Shiloh location under the name BBQ Park, but since then changed the name to Korean BBQ to avoid confusing potential customers. The restaurant currently sits on Del Mar Boulevard, not far from Alexander High School. The change added new customers, including those from nearby Texas A&M International University.

Bridge | Jessica Rodriguez
Korean BBQ is located on East Del Mar Boulevard, not far from TAMIU.

Suddenly, as spring commenced in late March, the U.S. went into self-quarantine and this caused confusion upfront for many. Businesses, especially restaurants, were tackled with the task to remain open, if possible, and feed a hungry nation.

Park said they were ill prepared, but failure was not an option for her.

“Everything seems frozen,” Park said in an email to The Bridge. “The government allows us to serve our food with only take-out options and we have to operate our business with minimal staff.”

This turn of events put a damper on her business, especially in terms of attracting new customers.

“Not only is our staff minimal, but our profit is diminished,” Park added.

As of late April, the staff did not change the menu and the food is prepared the same as before the city ordinances. If anything, they added to it.

“[We’ve] added a meal box that comes with steamed white rice, choice of meat and three side dishes,” Park said in the email. “Something simple, but good enough to cover a full nutritious meal.”

She would like to keep the menu as is, for now, for the sake of her regular customers.

“We will continue to serve a freshly prepared menu, as usual, and we are also trying to introduce some new dishes for the future,” Park emailed.

Korean BBQ’s business hangs in the balance for now, but the owner knows they are not the only ones feeling the pressure of possibly losing a restaurant.

“Not only us, but everyone is having a hard time because of the pandemic,” Park emailed. “We hope everyone will get through it and will get back to our normal life soon.”

For the time being, Korean BBQ remains open for hungry customers willing to give their taste buds a change of pace.

Park emailed, “We appreciate all of our customers who have always supported and continue to encourage us.”

Share

Coronavirus: ‘It’s a new one and we’ve never seen it’

Coronavirus

‘It’s a new one and we’ve never seen it’

By Jessica Rodriguez
Director of Photography
Published March 30, 2020

New-year goal setting and good cheer quickly disappeared as the latest health scare puts the world on notice—the coronavirus.

On the last day of December 2019, the Chinese government informed the World Health Organization of an epidemic of flu-like cases in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, home to more than 11 million residents. People became ill and it began to spread, increasing the number infected. Officials believed the disease to be part of the coronavirus family.

According to WHO, coronavirus is a “family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe dis-eases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).” Officials ruled out both types of betacoronavirus, leaving many to wonder what type of new disease occurred.

On Jan. 7, the virus was officially identified as SARS-CoV-2, which results in the new disease known as COVID-19.

Hector F. Gonzalez, director of the City of Laredo Health Department explains, “[SARS-CoV-2] is new. It’s part of the coronavirus family but it’s a new one and we’ve never seen it. It’s a new strain. It started in China and remains mainly in China. Of the 75,000 cases confirmed to date, 74,000 are in China and 73,000 of those are in the province of Wen.”

Jessica Rodriguez | Bridge
Doctors Hospital Emergency Room Saunders attends sick patients during flu season on Feb. 20 in Laredo.

By March 13, The New York Times reported confirmed cases in China reached more than 80,900 infected. The world total reached 143,700 sickened by March 13.

With the virus finally identified, researchers still haven’t found a cure, leaving those infected with few options.

Professor Addo-Mensah, who teaches medicinal chemistry at Texas A&M International University, highlighted the complications of finding a cure in due time.

“Companies or scientists in six months or so will come up with medication or vaccinations, but six months is too long. In terms of life without being lost every day, six months is too much,” Addo-Mensah said.

Jessica Rodriguez | Bridge
A coronavirus prevention warning on display March 6 inside a restroom in Pellegrino Hall.

As of mid-February the disease spread to more than 27 countries, resulting in 2,100 deaths from complications of the virus. That death toll reached 5,397, including 2,217 outside of main-land China, by March 13, according to The New York Times. At least 122 countries reported cases by March 13.

Although halfway around the world, the disease known as COVID-19 steadily crept into the United States. The number of confirmed U.S. cases remained around 200 or fewer until early March. By March 13, though, The New York Times reports more than 2,100 U.S. cases. As of March 11, WHO declared the coronavirus as a pandemic, or a global outbreak of a disease. Previously, it was classified as an epidemic.

U.S. citizens who traveled across and around China started to test positive for the disease, thus bringing the virus closer to home as they start to get quarantined in the states.

San Antonio became one of the 15 U.S. locations to quarantine infected.

While quarantined, patients get their vital signs and temperature checked about two to three times a day by medical staff in San Antonio. As medical professionals look after these quarantine patients, some residents are concerned about going near the hospitals.

Many in Texas hold mixed reactions to the evacuees returning home with the disease. Some fear they will contract the coronavirus, while others believe it is far from possible.

People online turned their confusion and frustration into memes and even hateful rants about the Chinese government.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of March 13, warns against non-essential travel to the following countries: China (80,900 cases), Italy (17,600), Iran (11,300), South Korea (7,900), Spain (4,200), France (3,600), Germany (3,600) and Iceland (100).

Other countries with confirmed cases include: U.S. (2,100 cases), Japan (1,300—which includes 696 from a cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama), U.K. (500), Singapore (200), Canada, Brazil, Israel and Australia (100), India (82), Egypt (80), Russia (45), Argentina (31), Algeria (26), South Africa (24), Mexico (12), New Zealand (5), Nigeria (2) and others with one case.

Share

Twice as nice: Pelosi returns to Gateway City

Twice as nice

Pelosi returns to Gateway City

By Angela Carranza
Bridge Staff Writer
and Reuben Rodriguez
Bridge Circulation Manager
Published March 30, 2020

Returning for a second year, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attended WBCA’s International Bridge Ceremony on the U.S.-Mexico border.

On Feb. 22, Pelosi; Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas; and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., stood at the border.

Jessica Rodriguez | Bridge
Three U.S. House of Representatives members participate during the International Bridge Ceremony on Feb. 22 on the U.S.-Mexico border. From left: law enforcement officers, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.; Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas; and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., listen to the National Anthem.

Cuellar began the event by welcoming attendees during a ceremonial breakfast at La Posada ballroom where he spoke on the importance of U.S.-Mexico trade through Laredo.

“Our trains carry 55 percent of all the trade between the U.S. and Mexico,” Cuellar said. “If you look at all the trucks that pass from El Paso to Brownsville, compared to Laredo, Laredo still does 51 percent of all the trades that pass. We’re No. 1 in trucks, No. 1 in trains here in Laredo and No. 1 in buses.”

With a symbolic ceremony on Feb. 21, Kansas City Southern announced a second train bridge will be built on the border. This addition is expected to relieve traffic throughout the city and in-crease trade flow.

Hoyer spoke briefly then Cuellar introduced Pelosi.

“Here is someone [who] understands that in our area we [would] rather have bridges than walls because we know that the Rio Grande does not divide us but actually unites us together,” Cueller introduced Pelosi to the crowd.

The attendees gave Pelosi a South Texas welcome as she took the podium.

“I want to take a moment to thank Henry Cuellar, who has been such a champion for making sure we all know that this has been one community with the border going through it,” she began. “The relationship between Mexico and the United States is an important one to better our country.”

Jessica Rodriguez | Bridge
Pelosi wears a “Sra. Internacional 2020” sash during the International Bridge Ceremony.

The speaker then acknowledged Laredo’s patriotism with its celebration of George Washington.

“This community is the most patriotic place,” she said. “No place in America [are] George Washington and Martha Washing-ton honored so well, beautifully and faithfully other than in this area.”

Before proceeding to the International Bridge Ceremony, Pelosi gave a closing remark, “Thank you all for being who you are.”

She left the ballroom and met with the two Abrazo children representing the U.S.: Natalia Aileen Santos and Oscar Omar Martinez III. They marched onto the Lincoln-Juarez International Bridge where the annual Abrazo Ceremony takes place.

“On behalf of the United States Congress, it is an honor to join with leaders from the United States and Mexico for the 123rd Washington Birthday Celebration,” Pelosi told the crowd.

“You are a champion for [the] U.S.-Mexico partnership, helping cultivate our strong economic cultural ties that deliver progress for all American people.”

Pelosi then praised Cuellar for the societal impact ushered during his tenure representing the 28th District of Texas.

“You were right there on the forefront—relentless and persistent to make sure that we would pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement,” she said. “Making sure that, when we did so, we would do so with respect for our neighbor of Mexico, our neighbor Canada and our workers in all three of our countries, [plus] stay true to our values as Americans, wanting to make sure that those values were felt by our neighbors.

“This wonderful event celebrates our countries’ close bonds, and close tradition and it embodies the diversity that strengthens our communities. The Abrazo Ceremony symbolizes the goodwill and affection that is the U.S.-Mexico friendship.”

It is her second year attending the annual Abrazo Ceremony. This event of unity came as Cuellar prepared for a race for his seat in the House.

“We in Congress, with our largest-ever Hispanic Caucus, feel that every day we are engaged with an ‘abrazo’ in our hemisphere,” Cuellar said. “Not just with Mexico but with the entire hemisphere and so many representatives of other countries are here today in friendship.”

Share

Sen. Sanders stops in San Antonio

Sen. Sanders stops in San Antonio

By Alejandro Hernandez
Special to The Bridge
Published March 30, 2020

    Riding the momentum of two primary victories, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., made it imperative to rally in Texas. Sanders focused several stops throughout this significant super Tuesday state—including San Antonio.

    Held on Feb. 22 at the Cowboys Dancehall during the Nevada primary caucus, supporters and media in attendance viewed the results live, leading to loud celebratory reactions for Sanders’ strong lead.

    Sanders walked on stage and led the rally after being declared the Nevada caucus winner. First, he introduced his wife, Jane Sanders, as “the next first lady,” spurring “Jane” chants from the crowd of more than 5,700. His major talking points focused on healthcare, education, raising the minimum wage, combating climate change and many other campaign points for the working class people.

    “We are going to win here in Texas,” Sanders told the crowd. “We are going to win across the country because the American people are sick and tired of a president who lies all of the time.”

    During the March 3 primary, Sanders received 102 delegates from 30 percent in Texas with 622,360 votes. He lost to Joe Biden, who received 111 delegates from 34.5 percent in Texas with 716,030 votes.

Jessica Rodriguez | Bridge
Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., waves to San Antonio’s crowd during his rally Feb. 22 at the Cowboys Dancehall. Jane Sanders, his wife and political staffer, smiles at left.

“Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” an estimated 5,700 people cheered wildly in the San Antonio Cowboys Dancehall auditorium as anticipation grew for the senator to walk out on stage.

Held on Feb. 22, during the Nevada primary caucus, supporters and media in attendance viewed the results of the caucus live while waiting, leading to loud celebratory reactions for Sanders’ strong lead at that time.

Before taking the stage, local activists and political leaders spoke on several key issues that the Sanders campaign is running on. Maria Victoria de la Cruz, a mother, and political organizer moved the crowd with her personal accounts of how the current presidency affected her loved ones.

“Tengo una hija que es recipiente de DACA. Es una maestra fregona, chingona. Si este señor Donald Trump le corta sus sueños, que va a pasar con todos esos jóvenes soñadores. No es Justo Señor Bernie.” A message that reverberates with the large Latino community in south Texas.

Finally, John Lennon’s song “Power to the People” played over the loud speakers and Sanders walked in. He thanked San Antonio and led the rally by declaring his official victory of the Nevada caucus.

“In Nevada, we have just put together a multi-generational, multiracial coalition which is gonna not only win in Nevada, it’s gonna sweep this country.”

Jessica Rodriguez | Bridge
Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., speaks during his San Antonio rally on Feb. 22 at the Cowboys Dancehall.

Sanders’ speech heavily advocated for raising the minimum wage, achieving equal pay for women, making it easier for people to join unions, helping rebuild infrastructure and building low income and affordable housing for people. One of his main talking points was about the importance of quality education and the need for better universal child care.

“We need more Latino teachers, we need more African-American teachers … We are gonna fight to make sure that no teacher in America earns less than $60,000 a year,” he urged.

He concluded, saying he will fight for the people by eliminating student debt, the greed of the pharmaceutical industry, the criminalization of drugs and marijuana, the increasing number of jail incarcerations, the demonization of undocumented immigrants and many other propositions.

“Brothers and sisters, if we stand together we will not only defeat Trump, we will trans-form this country and create a government and an economy that works for all of us,” he finalized.

Share

Student staff of The Bridge receives honors

During its end-of-semester dinner and awards, several members of The Bridge Independent Student Newspaper Fall 2019 staff were honored for their journalistic work on the paper. The event was held Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 11, at Cheddar’s restaurant in Laredo, Texas.

In addition, promotions were announced: Current Editor-in-chief Matthew Balderas graduates tomorrow, Dec. 12, and current Staff Writer David Gomez Jr. was promoted tonight to become the new editor-in-chief. Current Staff Writer Erick Barrientos was also promoted to the rank of Managing Editor. While both are fairly new to college journalism, they have stepped up to the plate and worked well as a team. In addition to her continuing duties, Director of Photography Jessica Rodriguez will also be picking up the mantle of Director of Social Media for The Bridge. Current Staff Writer Nayelle Acosta steps up to join the newspaper design staff. Current Bridge Illustrator Tomas Cruz will be shifting positions to focus on monetization as the new Advertising Director for The Bridge. Jennifer Rodriguez joins the staff as a photographer. Brandon Valdez joins the staff to help with social media.

The Bridge Hall of Fame Inductee for Fall 2019: Editor-in-chief Matthew Balderas, “For his long-standing service to The Bridge from rookie reporter in 2017 to editor-in-chief and chief designer in 2019, for helping grow the student newspaper and journalism program at TAMIU, and for his countless hours behind the curtain, performing the magic.”

  • The Bridge Best Rookie for Fall 2019: David Gomez Jr.
  • The Bridge Best Deadline Management for Fall 2019: David Gomez Jr.
  • The Bridge Reporter of the Semester: Erick Barrientos
  • The Bridge Photographer of the Semester: Jessica Rodriguez
  • The Bridge Best Editorial for Fall 2019: “Is 33 larger than 39,773? … asking for a friend” by Matthew Balderas
  • The Bridge Best Opinion Column for Fall 2019: “Our ol’ payphone reflects past, present, future” by David Gomez Jr.
  • The Bridge Best Illustration for Fall 2019: “Are you still listening?” by Tomas Cruz
  • The Bridge Best Photo Illustration for Fall 2019: “God the Mother representatives startle students” by Jessica Rodriguez
  • The Bridge Best News Story for Fall 2019: “God the Mother representatives startle students” by Erick Barrientos
  • The Bridge Best News Photo for Fall 2019: “Climate strike raises environmental issues” by Erick Barrientos
  • The Bridge Best Feature Story for Fall 2019: “Goodbye to a dear friend” by Erick Barrientos
  • The Bridge Best Feature Photo for Fall 2019: “Dance concert displays student creativity” by Jessica Rodriguez
  • The Bridge Best Sports Story for Fall 2019: “Men’s soccer wraps up historic season” by Allan Rodriguez
  • The Bridge Best Sports Photo for Fall 2019: “Men’s soccer wraps up historic season” by Matthew Balderas

Share