Open letter to Wendy, Lizbeth, Janie, Sergio and the children affected by SB 4

Photo by Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

When I read that Gov. Greg Abbott had signed Senate Bill 4, the “sanctuary cities” bill, my thoughts turned to you. I felt pain in my heart. Disappointment. Anger. Sadness.

But I know that my pain doesn't even compare to yours. Many of you came to your Capitol begging for a different result than you received. Those in power chose not to listen.

I will never forget the terror and the urgency you expressed during the State Affairs Committee hearing. The card you gave me that night has been framed and placed in my office. It will always remind me of your extraordinary courage.

I will never forget the looks in your eyes when you simply asked to keep your families together and safe.

When I saw you, my thoughts went back to something that happened to my own ancestors many years ago, during slavery — when families were torn apart, children were sold and taken away from their families. Husbands and wives were separated.

While it was many years ago, the pain of that history never goes away. But it does not define me and it will not define you. Your communities are stronger than SB 4. You and your families are so much more than this bill could ever take away.

I know you are frightened. I know you are angry and disillusioned. But despite this setback, I ask you to keep the courage you showed that night you testified. I ask you to never quit speaking out. Never fail to stand up for what you believe in — even when you have to stand alone.

I ask you to never give up on your fellow men and women, even when you have cried out and been ignored. Never give up on hope because when you do, only darkness and emptiness remain. Never give up on your faith. There is a power greater than the Texas Legislature and He will never forsake you. He will never leave you.

Our fight does not end today. Millions of Texans are here to help protect you and fight alongside you. Don't ever forget that. God bless you and God bless your families.

Helen Giddings

State representative