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Baldwin Park: Who's Land? Our Land!

by Leslie Radford Sunday, May. 15, 2005 at 8:33 PM

Report on Baldwin Park counter-action against Save Our State.

Baldwin Park: Who's ...
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In a major local victory over racism, determined counter-protestors in Baldwin Park today turned back Save Our State, a militant anti-immigrant group from Ventura.

Save Our State had announced a protest in opposition to an installation artwork at the Baldwin Park Metrolink Station on Ramona Blvd. and Downing Ave., claiming the piece was pro-illegal immigration. Save Our State recently orchestrated a media campaign in opposition to area billboards referring to "Los Angeles, Mexico" until the billboards’ owner, Clear Channel Communications, removed them.

On hearing of the planned incursion into Baldwin Park, local groups including Aztlan Mexica Nation/Harmony Circle, Frente Unida Pueblos de America, Comite Pro-Democracia en Mexico, and Mexicanos Unidos, quickly organized a counter demonstration. Save Our State had arranged for a permit and police protection for their event, and counter-demonstration organizers hastily did the same. Shortly after 11:00 a.m., Danza Cuatemoc opened the counter-demonstration with a dance and blessing. Manuel Lozano, mayor of Baldwin Park, and David Olivas, a local councilmember, spoke to the anti-racist group. Lozano had previously denounced Save Our State as "un-American" and "perpetuating racism," and at the rally he promised to ask for a state investigation of the hundreds of racist e-mails received by him and others in city government generated by the Save Our State campaign. Also appearing in defense of the monument was Judy Baca, the artist of the installation and noted muralist of Great Wall of Los Angeles, who rallied the assembled crowd of several hundred by reminding them that the monument, inscribed with comments from Baldwin Park residents, belonged to Baldwin Park.

The danzantes led the counter-protestors, mostly young Chicano residents of Baldwin Park with representatives from various Los Angeles anti-racism groups and left-wing political movements, across the small plaza and the parking lot to a police line set up about two hundred feet from the forty or fifty Save Our State members. Armed with signs, banners, cameras, and bullhorns, the counter-demonstrators chanted for the racists to go home. Police positioned themselves about ten feet behind the police line, facing the counter protestors. No similar police presence was apparent at the Save Our State site.

The danzantes led some of the counter-protestors to the plaza, while others made their way around several cordoned-off city blocks to confront Save Our State at the other end of the parking lot. More local residents joined the counter-demonstrators there, and the swelling crowd chanted "¡El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!" and "Whose streets? Our streets! Whose land? Our land!" while the dwindling group of anti-immigration protestors stood in silence holding signs that read "No to Reconquista, no to Aztlan," "Stop Illegal Alien Immigration," and "This land was Mexican once and will be American forever." The Baldwin Park residents and allies crowded around two street corners, again confronted by a line of police and circled by a police helicopter. When the police ordered the anti-racist protestors to move back, the crowd obeyed but called across the intersection "Racists! Two steps back!"

Meanwhile, at the other end of the park, Danza Cuatemoc performed on the four corners of the Ramona and Downing, with the encouragement of local motorists.

One person from Save Our State collapsed and was driven out in an ambulance. Some reports indicated she was struck with a water bottle, while others said she was a victim of heat stroke. The police did not question or challenge the counter-demonstrators about the incident.

At approximately 2:30 p.m., it was announced that Save Our State was leaving the area. Amidst roars of "¡Si, Se Puede!," the breakaway counter-protestors returned to the plaza, and organizers gathered names of those ready to stop the Minutemen at the California border.


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Breakaway Counter Demonstration

by Leslie Radford Sunday, May. 15, 2005 at 8:33 PM

Breakaway Counter De...
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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 38 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Keep it up! Gus Monday, May. 16, 2005 at 2:18 PM
SOS Contributor Steve Brow Tuesday, May. 17, 2005 at 8:22 PM
it's your organizing strategy that's the problem johnk Tuesday, May. 17, 2005 at 9:50 PM
And further coverage Fredric L. Rice Wednesday, May. 18, 2005 at 8:44 AM
reframing the immigration debate globalization and balance US/Mex economy Wednesday, May. 18, 2005 at 2:11 PM
just say no to illegal invasion johnj Wednesday, May. 18, 2005 at 4:41 PM
SOS Contributor Steve Brow Wednesday, May. 18, 2005 at 7:51 PM
responses johnk Wednesday, May. 18, 2005 at 10:59 PM
response to brow johnk Thursday, May. 19, 2005 at 12:35 AM
hmmm Yar Thursday, May. 19, 2005 at 5:27 AM
Yes, it was racist hatred Fredricf L. Rice Thursday, May. 19, 2005 at 8:58 AM
Fighting racists on the left Robert Byrd Thursday, May. 19, 2005 at 11:18 AM
SOS Contributor Steve Brow Thursday, May. 19, 2005 at 8:49 PM
Mad Libbin more rational Thursday, May. 19, 2005 at 9:29 PM
Simple Simple Simon Friday, May. 20, 2005 at 1:33 AM
The LA IMC Thought Police are Censoring Again Adult Supervisor Friday, May. 20, 2005 at 2:30 AM
The voice of hatred and bigotry Fredric L. Rice Friday, May. 20, 2005 at 9:43 AM
This is the typical SOS / Minutman kindset Fredric L. Rice Friday, May. 20, 2005 at 9:50 AM
The last I'll say about it Fredric L. Rice Friday, May. 20, 2005 at 10:08 AM
hi brow johnk Friday, May. 20, 2005 at 7:27 PM
fresca inane Friday, May. 20, 2005 at 7:54 PM
Simple Simple Simon Sunday, May. 22, 2005 at 1:48 AM
Fourth of July protest Rockero420 Monday, May. 23, 2005 at 3:04 PM
Rockero42, plz get it straight oldpreach Monday, May. 23, 2005 at 4:40 PM
Fred Rice Rubbish oldpreach Monday, May. 23, 2005 at 4:45 PM
BBQ Sounds good quimixipilli Monday, May. 23, 2005 at 6:54 PM
Baldwin Park Leslie Radford Tuesday, May. 24, 2005 at 8:26 AM
Baldwin Park Leslie Radford Tuesday, May. 24, 2005 at 8:27 AM
I LOVE IT M. Jordan Thursday, May. 26, 2005 at 10:27 AM
OneEyedMan KPC Thursday, May. 26, 2005 at 10:30 AM
We're going to let you in on a secret PCP Thursday, May. 26, 2005 at 10:41 AM
OneEyedMan KPC Thursday, May. 26, 2005 at 10:49 AM
Persians and Chinese? Ergo Thursday, May. 26, 2005 at 2:00 PM
Greatest Country in the History of the Universe? Bruce Thursday, May. 26, 2005 at 2:33 PM
Chinese and Persians?? BushAdmirer Friday, May. 27, 2005 at 2:05 AM
ONLY 27 years and they own this land? Janet Friday, Jun. 03, 2005 at 1:05 PM

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