This was intimidation, plain and simple.
On February 17th, Brownsville community activist Bekah Hinojosa was singled out and publicly attacked by Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez because she is outspoken about the destructive impacts SpaceX is causing to our environment and community.
On the morning of Wednesday, February 16, 2022, two cars of Brownsville police invaded Bekah’s home. Without allowing her to properly dress and without providing a warrant, they arrested her, took away her prescription eyeglasses, subjected her to interrogation without a lawyer, and held her in isolation for 26 hours – all based on a single charge of Class B misdemeanor for alleged graffiti.
The next day, Brownsville Mayor Mendez targeted her on his personal social media just hours after her release by revealing her name and place of employment and past activism.
Mayor Mendez made clear that he was lashing out because a small message “gentrified / stop SpaceX” had been painted below the controversial “BTX” mural funded by Elon Musk’s foundation in downtown Brownsville.
SpaceX founder and world’s richest man Elon Musk has donated millions of dollars to the City of Brownsville and surrounding communities. It has amounted to political hush money.
Mayor Mendez and the City of Brownsville have ignored public outcry around SpaceX’s environmental destruction and contribution to community displacement through skyrocketing housing costs.
It is not a stretch to say the richest man in the world has recruited a crop of loyal local politicians willing to snuff out opposition to his plans – regardless of how destructive they prove to be to the community and environment those politicians are supposed to defend.
But Rio Grande Valley residents know our worth. We are worth paychecks that equal the true value of our work, quality homes and neighborhoods where our children can grow and play, and safe air, water and energy that our families can depend on.
We are worth more than the skyrocketing housing costs that push us from our homes, the rocket debris scattered across our beaches, and this current crop of politicians who sell our city and natural spaces to the highest bidder in the name of “progress”.
We know our worth and we will continue to demand that those who govern in our name recognize our worth and act in our interest.
That’s why we need you to speak up against politicians in the pockets of wealthy corporations who target and intimidate community organizers. Sign Bekah’s petition calling on the City of Brownsville to drop the charges and investigate Mayor Mendez for abuse of power.
To learn more about the destructive impacts of SpaceX that Valley residents are speaking up against, watch below.
John-Michael and the LUPE team