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Immigrants March in L.A. for Justice and Driver's Licenses

by Anna Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2004 at 2:56 PM
annekunkin@earthlink.net

Thousands gathered in East L.A. on Saturday, October 17 to march for immigrants rights and against the racist measures that have been used against the mostly brown and indigenous people that form such a large part of our community, in the name of “Homeland Security” since 9-11.



The march began at Cinco Puntos (5 points), in the heart of EastLos; a traditional and historic site and host to many such demonstrations in L.A.’s long history of racism and ambivalence against it’s original occupants, and in a show of great unity and spirit, followed the historic trail down Cesar Chavez Boulevard to the steps of City Hall.

The marchers, young and old, mostly brown with a smattering of black and white community members and supporters, chanted in English and Spanish “ El Pueblo Unido Jamas Sera Vencido”, (A united people will never be beaten), and “Arnold, You’re An Immigrant Too!”, to a background of drums while the sounds of Mexican Norteños and Ranchero music could be heard from open storefronts along the way. Whole families marched with homemade signs calling for driver’s licenses for immigrants and human dignity for all the people, while the Aztec dancers blessed the proceedings with their ancient and joyful music and dance.

Students from schools all over the city marched, calling for a better education, and for an end to the constant and powerful military recruitment in minority schools. One young girl cried, “Bush, if you’re gonna make my brother drive a tank, the least you could do is let him have a driver’s license so he can drive a car”.

LAUSD teachers marched with SEIU workers in support of education and workers rights, followed by the red Salvadorean banners of the FMLN.

“Ten years ago we marched against the racist policies of the ultra-right Republicans; but the attacks against us continue”, exclaimed Angela Sambrno of CARACEN, an organization that works for immigrant rights in Los Angeles. “The war against terrorism has turned into a war against immigrants”, she went on to say, “we have come to create riches for the fifth largest economy in the world, and we want these attacks to stop”, she said, referring to the raids which have taken place in Southern California in the last few months against mostly Latino and Mexican immigrants.

Other speakers included Senator Gil Cedillo who said, “ There is no mark when we pay our taxes”, referring to the identifying mark the governor of California insists be on undocumented immigrant’s driver’s licenses before he will approve them. “We want the same kind of license that the governor has; we are not terrorists or criminals”.

President of Hermandad Mexicana said, “We don’t want to be the Palestinians of California, suffering oppression in our own country. We are pioneers in California; a people of peace, creators of values and hard fighters. We don’t want to be the Jews of German Nazis in California”.

There is a call-out to all immigrants to support the boycott called for December 12, Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. On this date, all immigrants are asked to abstain from shopping or spending any money; to not show up for work or take their kids to school. In this way, the hope is to show the governor that immigrants have value; that their work counts, and that without them, the fifth largest economy on earth would crumble.

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