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Costa Mesa's March to Justice

by Leslie Radford Sunday, Dec. 25, 2005 at 10:59 AM

Costa Mesans marched and rallied in opposition to the city council's vote to turn the police department into border patrol agents.

Costa Mesa's March t...
a_child_in_costa_mesa.jpg, image/jpeg, 430x473

COSTA MESA, CA, December 23, 2005--Eighty people, calling Costa Mesa's Mayor Mansoor a racist and proclaiming "Ningún ser humano es ilegal," marched through Costa Mesa this afternoon in outrage at the city council's resolution to empower the city police department to check the immigration status of suspects. The city is the first in the country to commit its police to border control, and the demonstrators were determined to reverse that.

The protestors, made up mostly of Mexican-Americans with a handful of white anarchists and activists, gathered at 3:00 p.m. on Sunflower Avenue, in plain sight of holiday shoppers at the South Coast Plaza mall. An hour later, the group marched along Sunflower waving their signs as motorists speeding by honked their horns in support.

I walked for a while with one of the event organizers, a woman from Colectivo Tonantzin. We had met before, after the anti-Minuteman protest in Garden Grove, where several protestors were run down by a Jim Gilchrist supporter and five were ultimately arrested, one for "stealing" a flashlight lying on the ground. She and the others had a red-hot anger at the May Minuteman meeting that had made manifest the racism next door. Now, more than six months later, she and the group were steely-eyed and determined. They were here to do business, to expose the city council for scapegoating immigrants and for officially dividing the people of Costa Mesa along ethnic lines.

Mayor Mansoor's original proposal, which would have targeted people of Meso-American descent for immigration checks for the smallest infraction, even jaywalking, was roundly opposed by the overwhelming majority of the 200-plus residents attending the December 6 city council meeting.

Despite the fierce opposition, Costa Mesa became the first city in the nation to authorize its police department to verify residency status.

The policy the council would train police officers to verify the residence status of any person suspected of a crime with US Immigration. Mansoor claimed the verification training would make the streets of the city safer - but he could not explain how residency checks would accomplish that. The program will cost several hundred thousand dollars and has no provisions to deter false arrest or mass roundups of so-called suspects for immigration checks. The protestors plan to continue pressuring the city council to reverse it new policy of legalized racial profiling.

The marchers turned left onto Fairview Road, into a working class neighborhood earmarked by the Costa Mesa Planning Commission for gentrification. I stopped to make a purchase and fell a block or two behind the group. At the next light, a couple of marchers had waited for me to catch up. We chatted about the long walk, the early darkness, and the small guitar one of them carried. We caught up with the others, and my companions joined the other guitarists who had accompanied us.

Enveloped in the soltice darkness, we reached Fairview and Fall Drive, where the group broke into long chants of "The people united will never be defeated!" and "¡Aquí estamos, y no nos vamos!" As the guitarists picked up the rhythm, the chants turned melodious as we approached the police station. We were met there by more protestors, and together we cheered on speakers as the police videotaped us and print journalists counted the crowd. Only a few of us recognized the four members of Save Our State, an anti-immigrant group which had promised a counterprotest, huddled by their pickup truck in the parking lot.

I looked around to discover we were surrounded by and intertwined with children. Tiny ones in their fathers' arms, toddlers dressed up in fuzzy coats and furry boots, boys and girls doing cartwheels on the grass lawn of the station. I wondered how it would feel to grow up in a nation where the police demanded, "Papers, please."

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 72 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Really? Quizling Sunday, Dec. 25, 2005 at 3:23 PM
Thank You Amor y Paz Monday, Dec. 26, 2005 at 12:13 AM
American citizens VOTE Minutewoman Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005 at 6:02 AM
Hey minutewoman 1st hand source Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005 at 4:40 PM
1st hand source Tramp Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005 at 5:15 PM
Hey Tramp 1st hand source Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005 at 8:23 PM
VOTE 1st hand MInutewoman Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005 at 10:33 PM
Crippled Hand Tramp Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005 at 11:56 PM
actually pete nice Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005 at 2:36 AM
Hey Minutemama/Tramp 1st hand source Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005 at 7:16 PM
OK 1st Hand Minutewoman Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005 at 7:59 PM
1st hand source Tramp Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005 at 10:19 PM
Definition of a Fasicist (it's u Tramp and Minutewoman) El Chivo Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005 at 11:15 PM
The Mayor of Costa Mesa has the CMRES Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 2:04 AM
how dare costa mesa enforce the law! :( mike Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 3:32 AM
To st hand OC Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 6:05 AM
Oh, El Chivo MInutewoman Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 6:58 PM
To 1st Hand again Minutewoman Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 7:05 PM
indy = nonsense? pete nice Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 7:11 PM
To Minutewoman El Chivo Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 8:26 PM
How do you identify an Undoc? Pachuco Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 9:51 PM
How do you identify an Undoc? Border Raven Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 10:53 PM
Only if Suspected Pachuco Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 11:56 PM
Hey People Relax 2016 Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 12:09 AM
Cholo Juana? Border Raven Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 3:16 AM
uh huh Jammer CC Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 3:38 AM
Cholo Juana Pachuco Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 4:42 PM
East Los Angeles El Chivo Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 6:46 PM
how about Santa Maria? Bruce Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 7:23 PM
OH El Chivo HURRAH Minutewoman Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 8:51 PM
MEXICO is the problem BLAME Mexico first Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 8:56 PM
Don't leave out the US Pachuco Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 9:52 PM
Hey Pachuco Minutewoman Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 11:45 PM
the agenda after the fence is built? Border Raven Sunday, Jan. 01, 2006 at 4:11 AM
The agenda after 2016 Aztlan Sunday, Jan. 01, 2006 at 9:05 AM
Minutewoman Pachuco Sunday, Jan. 01, 2006 at 5:43 PM
Getting rid of all the racists Border Raven Sunday, Jan. 01, 2006 at 6:56 PM
Give Up El Chivo Sunday, Jan. 01, 2006 at 8:51 PM
Pachuco Minutewoman Sunday, Jan. 01, 2006 at 9:22 PM
El Chivo NEVER Give up! Minutewoman Sunday, Jan. 01, 2006 at 9:27 PM
Aztlan that's not nice! Minutewoman Sunday, Jan. 01, 2006 at 9:44 PM
To Minutewoman El Chivo Sunday, Jan. 01, 2006 at 10:58 PM
Ningun ser humano es ilegal Aztlan Monday, Jan. 02, 2006 at 12:12 AM
Minutemen on border watch with Tom Metzger? Border Raven Monday, Jan. 02, 2006 at 1:09 AM
inmigrantes ilegales ningunos empleo Border Raven Monday, Jan. 02, 2006 at 1:21 AM
hay gente ilegal - es el ley Minutewoman Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 5:23 AM
To El Chivo Minutewoman Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 5:26 AM
To Border Raven Minutewoman Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 5:30 AM
reply Jammer CC Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 6:05 AM
Tom Metzger Border Raven Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 6:19 AM
reply Jammer CC Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 6:25 AM
reply Jammer CC Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 6:33 AM
To Jammer and Minutewoman El Chivo Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 6:55 AM
NAFTA took my job to Canada in 1998 Border Raven Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 7:42 AM
Border Raven Anti-Racist Monday, Jan. 09, 2006 at 2:34 AM
Logic Gab Monday, Jan. 09, 2006 at 8:56 AM
Minutewoman... socialist? Gab Monday, Jan. 09, 2006 at 9:07 AM

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