The pounding drum, the stomping feet with rhythmic rattles, and the resounding echo of
"Pueblo, ¡Si! Guerra, ¡No! thundered up both sides of Broadway in
Los Angeles this morning. One hundred and twenty-five people marched in
the drizzle and unseasonable chill from Olympic to the Federal Building on
Temple to declare that the U.S. war on migrants must end.
As shoppers and workers poured to their doorways to support
the marchers, twenty members of Danza Cuauhtémoc, escorted by the Aztlan Nation
Harmony Keepers, spun, stepped, twirled, and dipped at the head of the procession.
The youngest danzantes, ninas and ninos of five and six years old, led the
way. A boy of about ten pulled the drum, while a teenager pounded out the complex
Following the danzantes were members of Comité pro
democracia en México, AnswerLA, Jornaleros Unidos de Valle San Gabriel, Frente
Unido de los Pueblos Americanos (FUPA), Colectivo Tonantzin, the Orange County
Red de vigilancia contra cazamigrantes, brought together by the Anti-Minuteman
Watch Network, with an outpouring of anarchists.
At each intersection the east- and west-side contingents
faced the passing motorists and each other, and bullhorned across the street,
"¡El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!" Signs boldly announced
Migra: racista y asesina." Marchers declared, "Esta mi tierra,
esta mi lucha."
Outside the Federal Building speaker after speaker decried
the U.S. assault on migrants, proclaiming the southwest U.S. and Mexico as
ancestral territory. Today's marchers had coalesced around the needless
and tragic Border Patrol killing of Guillermo Martínez Rodríguez on December
Eighteen-year-old Martínez, father of two small children, was shot in the back and killed by a
U.S. Border Patrol agent at a distance of less than eighteen feet with a hollow
point bullet as he tried to cross into the United States.
He was the last to die on the border in 2005. A record number of people,
estimated at 500, died crossing the border last year, and four have been shot by
the Border Patrol since October. In
the eleven years since the U.S.’s Operation Gatekeeper policy authorized the
construction of walls and increased patrols across parts of the U.S.-Mexico
border, some 4000 people have died trying to migrate.
Prior to Operation Gatekeeper, annually fewer than a dozen people died
making the southern passage.
march leader deplored the increasing U.S. military presence in Central America
and the Caribbean. In another conversation, a person remarked on the
inhumanity of the upcoming trial of Shanti Sellz and Daniel Strauss in
Arizona. The two face up to fifteen years in prison for transporting two
dehydrated border crossers to a local hospital.
in the next few weeks the Sensenbrenner anti-immigrant bill will be debated in
the Senate. The bill would classify
border crossers, including 1.5 million children, as felons; enable deportation
and imprisonment of border crossers without legal counsel or family
notification; 700 more miles of wall to divide Mexico from the United States;
militarize the border with the newest war technology; and make it a felony to
aid an undocumented worker, putting charities and family members at risk of
three to thirty years in prison. While
fewer than a dozen police lounged on either side of Temple Street, marchers
brought together the messages of the day laborers, migrants, those who aid them,
and from beyond the grave, the message of Guillermo
Martínez and rest who died because of U.S. immigration policies: no war on