Thursday, June 01, 2006
Raza cadets publicly resign from JROTC in protest to U.S. troops being placed at the border.
By JOSE LARA
LOS ANGELES, CA -- Over 40 student leaders and community members gathered yesterday in front of the Edward Roybal Federal Building in downtown LA to protest the militarization of the border.
These student leaders are part of the Coordinadora Estudiantil de la Raza (CER), a coalition of Raza student groups and leaders that came together as a result of the historic 2006 High School Walkouts. Together, along with the Raza Graduate Student Association de UCLA, Union del Barrio and the Frente Continental, they declared their opposition to the deployment of U.S. military troops at the U.S. Mexico-Border.
As momentum gathered for the event, students began chanting, "Raza Si, Tropas No," (Yes to the people, No to the border troops) and "Que Viva Los Estudiantes!" (Long live the Students!). The students also paid tribute to the legacy of true military hero, who recognized no borders, Emiliano Zapata, by also chanting, "Zapata Vive, La Lucha Sigue!" (Zapata Lives, The struggle continues).
The CER outlined a strategic campaign titled "No Soy El U.S. Army," to encourage Raza to look for alternatives to JROTC programs and military service. The group hopes to put pressure on the U.S. government to withdraw its troops from the border and expose the contradiction of Raza who join the military only to be sent to the border. This campaign also includes future regional actions in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Oxnard, and Riverside.
The event culminated with a student from Garfield High School, located in the heart of East Los Angeles, publicly renouncing the JROTC and resigning from the program. Dressed in a JROTC uniform, the student stated, "I will not join the army just to be sent to the border to kill my own people." The student then took off his uniform and put on a CER T-shirt instead. This symbolized the student's willingness to be a soldier for human rights and not the border patrol. The CER hopes that more JROTC cadets will step forward and follow in the lead of this courageous young activist.
As young children played in the background, the event ended with ceremonial Danza Mexica that reminded the students of their historic ties to the land. At that point the message was clear, the U.S. Military is no place for Raza.
RAZA, SI! TROPAS, NO!