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"Do It for the Children"

by Leslie Radford Sunday, Feb. 05, 2006 at 3:18 AM

Dolores Huerta welcomes the Caravan for Migrants to Los Angeles, on its way to demanding humane immigration policies in Sacramento, Washington, and points in between.

"Do It for the ...
for_the_children.jpg, image/jpeg, 427x480

LOS ANGELES, February 3, 2006--Mother Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants, was in the house tonight when 120 people gathered in front of La Placita Church on Olvera Street to commemorate the death of Guillermo Martínez Rodríguez and the 4000, or perhaps as many as 10,000, people who have died trying to circumvent the U.S. border wall since its construction in 1994. Prior to 1994, only a dozen or so people were killed annually by the heat or cold of the desert, or by the U.S. Border Patrol.

The Caravan for Migrants was organized by Enrique Morones of Border Angels and San Diego's gente unida to bring national focus to the deaths and to stop anti-immigrant legislation. The caravanners were escorted to the church through the foggy twilight chill by Danza Cuauhtémoc. Speakers lined up at a small lectern next to the candles for the souls of the dead outside the church. After a greeting by local hosts La Placita Justicia para Immigrantes and a song and prayer by the parish priest, Dolores Huerta, legendary co-founder and vice-president emeritus of the United Farm Workers, set the tone with an impassioned plea insisting that immigrants not be blamed for U.S. social ills and international economic policy.

She was followed by Morones, who proclaimed, "It's wonderful the way the community has welcomed us, from Dolores Huerta to the jornaleros. The community has received us with open arms. We will defeat 4437 and the racism in this country." HR 4437 is the onerous anti-immigrant bill soon to be considered by the U.S. Senate that would punish anyone, including as many as 1.5 million children, entering or staying in the U.S. without proper documentation and anyone who assists them with lodging, food, transportation, or employment with up to five years in prison. HR 4437 would add 700 more miles of lethal wall along the 2000 mile border.

Speakers from other groups, including the Southern California Human Rights Commission and Mexica Movement followed. Following their comments, one observer remarked, "Mexica Movement is harsh, but they keep us grounded in our history." The next speaker commented that the community was coming together to stop HR 4437. He added, "Do it for the children."

Supporters on both sides of the border met the caravan yesterday in Calexico. At a cemetery outside San Ysidro, which is the final resting place for 400 unknown border crossers, the group was joined by Agustin Martínez, brother of the deceased Tijuana resident, who planted the first of 4000 crosses the group will place across the country as it travels to Washington, D.C. Earlier today, in Riverside, 350 students rallied in their support.

On the night of December 30, Martínez became the last known border victim of 2005. Martínez was shot twice in the back by hollow point bullets at a distance of less than twenty feet, near the San Ysidro port of entry. The Border Patrol has claimed that Martínez threw a rock at an agent when the agent fired, but Martínez' brother, who was with him, asserts that no rocks were thrown. Martínez, twenty, was the father of two young children. The Border Patrol, the San Diego Police, the U.S. State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, and the federal Attorney General’s office in Mexico are investigating. Martínez' family had announced their intent to file a civil suit for M against the U.S. government. The Coalición de Derechos Humanos/Alianza Indígena Sin Fronteras reports that the U.S. Border Patrol has shot alleged rock-throwing migrants at least six prior times since 1996.

One caravanner commented, "No human being deserves to die try to ensure his economic survival." Another put it in broader terms: "We have, since Operation Gatekeeper, over 10,000 people dead. We don't want more deaths, no Wall of Shame. We don't want any vigilantes anywhere."

Saturday morning, the caravan will depart for Fresno. From there it will head to San Francisco, and on Monday the travelers plan a day of lobbying in Sacramento. From there, they will head to Tucson, Arizona, and then caravanners to memorialize border deaths in El Paso and in San Antonio, with a special ceremony at the Alamo. The next stops will be Victoria, where 19 migrants died in a semi-trailer truck, Houston, and the JFK Memorial in Dallas. Other scheduled stops include Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Atlanta with a special message for CNN'S Lou Dobbs. After passing through North Carolina, the March for Migrants will end its journey in Washington, DC demanding legislators vote "No" to HR4437 and the recent wave of right-wing anti-migrant legislation. Meetings are planned with Senators McCain and Kennedy, as well as other key legislators, including members of the Hispanic caucus.

Following a planning meeting after the public event, Huerta was asked what message she wanted to send to Los Angeles Indymedia readers. She answered, "The personal stories of immigrants have to be told--taking care of the elderly, the sick, and children, working in the kitchens and the field. The antagonism from corporate media is terrible. Tell them it's important to have a legalization program for the people who are here."

Mother Cabrini would have been pleased.

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the message

by Leslie Radford Sunday, Feb. 05, 2006 at 3:18 AM

the message...
migrant_caravan_004.jpg, image/jpeg, 424x640

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the voice

by Leslie Radford Sunday, Feb. 05, 2006 at 3:18 AM

the voice...
migrant_caravan_003.jpg, image/jpeg, 480x640

Dolores Huerta

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the spirit

by Leslie Radford Sunday, Feb. 05, 2006 at 3:18 AM

the spirit...
morones2.jpg, image/jpeg, 392x640

Enrique Morones

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the plan

by Leslie Radford Sunday, Feb. 05, 2006 at 3:18 AM

the plan...
marchamigrante.jpg, image/jpeg, 413x640

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the inspiration

by Leslie Radford Sunday, Feb. 05, 2006 at 3:18 AM

the inspiration...
migrant_caravan_006.jpg, image/jpeg, 480x640

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 34 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
THANK U LESLIE THANK U LESLIE Sunday, Feb. 05, 2006 at 5:28 PM
Shallow and misleading Quizling Tuesday, Feb. 07, 2006 at 7:49 AM
What about them? Leslie Tuesday, Feb. 07, 2006 at 9:49 AM
uh......ookkk.. canat Tuesday, Feb. 07, 2006 at 10:25 AM
reply Jammer CC Tuesday, Feb. 07, 2006 at 3:14 PM
But I thought this was about Quizling Tuesday, Feb. 07, 2006 at 5:16 PM
canat said. . . Leslie Tuesday, Feb. 07, 2006 at 5:22 PM
A job half done, is a job well begun Border Raven Tuesday, Feb. 07, 2006 at 5:32 PM
Operation Gatekeeper: Half Done Is More Than Enough Leslie Tuesday, Feb. 07, 2006 at 6:34 PM
It's an atrocity, too Leslie Tuesday, Feb. 07, 2006 at 7:49 PM
atrocity thy name is ignorance Border Raven Tuesday, Feb. 07, 2006 at 9:54 PM
Mindless? River God Wednesday, Feb. 08, 2006 at 11:28 AM
don't think so River Demon Wednesday, Feb. 08, 2006 at 1:00 PM
I agree, Leslie!!! Scorpio Wednesday, Feb. 08, 2006 at 2:56 PM
Yes, do it for the children Leslie Thursday, Feb. 09, 2006 at 12:33 AM
'ssimilation and Language johnk Thursday, Feb. 09, 2006 at 12:21 PM
Leslie The Lost Scorpio Thursday, Feb. 09, 2006 at 3:31 PM
for Leslie Border Raven Friday, Feb. 10, 2006 at 12:53 AM
Leslie Scorpio Friday, Feb. 10, 2006 at 9:31 AM
Its really all about money Alfonso Alonso Friday, Feb. 10, 2006 at 5:10 PM
3-on-1 debate, huh? Leslie Friday, Feb. 10, 2006 at 9:42 PM
reply Jammer CC Friday, Feb. 10, 2006 at 10:20 PM
Rational Debate is good Alfonso Alonso Saturday, Feb. 11, 2006 at 10:01 AM
a little clarity Leslie Saturday, Feb. 11, 2006 at 10:36 AM
Before NAFTA johnk Saturday, Feb. 11, 2006 at 1:35 PM
How do you implement unrestricted immigration Alfonso Alonso Saturday, Feb. 11, 2006 at 2:42 PM
HMM................................... ME Saturday, Dec. 08, 2007 at 2:19 PM
HMM................................... ME Saturday, Dec. 08, 2007 at 2:19 PM

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