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Pomona Youth Rally for Immigrant Rights

by Rockero Tuesday, Feb. 01, 2011 at 9:31 AM

Friday, January 28, 2011

POMONA, California - A youthful group of about fifty gathered in downtown Pomona to march, rally, and otherwise lift their voices about the need for immigration reform, social justice, and popular participation in decisionmaking processes. The march was organized and executed exclusively by the youth, who, while accepting the solidarity of more established movement activists, were also taking very seriously their responsibility to lead the movement.

The tragic events of last year were no impediment to youth organizing in Pomona. Rather, they sought to begin the new year with a fresh and invigorating spirit of unity and hope. They also planned to showcase their artistic talents and unite social and artistic movements. By planning a concert just after the rally, they were able to bring people into the movement that otherwise might not have participated, and also exposed young activists to the innovative arts movement centered around downtown Pomona.

The afternoon's events began with a march from the corner of Mission and Garey up Pomona's main artery. Participants flaunted banners reading "Undocumented and Unafraid" and "Con o sin papeles, Pomona se organiza," as well as numerous posters bearing the stenciled image of a blindfolded person with the words "Take your blindfold off and fight!"

Returning to Mission via the transit station, students spoke.

Here are some of their words:

¡Sí se puede!

"We came together as a community to stop playing defense. As a community, we need to get on the offensive. We need to become vocal, and active members in our community. So our intention tonight--you have a couple of clipboards walking around--please sign your name. In a matter of two, three weeks, we'll be contacting you people; the next step will be to create a meeting, create a movement, create solidarity. Not just with immigrant rights, but against the war, LGBT rights, against checkpoints, e-verify, immigration reform. We're part of a lot of movements. We want to become a vocal voice in Pomona. We want the city council members to hear us, to know our face, to know who we represent. The undocumented and documented community represent Pomona. And we're not leaving!" Roll call. "This is what movements are made of, out of families. This is what we need to make vocal to the city councils, to the so-called legislators making racist laws. That our communities have families, kids, working hard to support families. We're tired of this shit! We're not gonna take this anymore! That's why, as a community, we need to stand up, become active participants in our lives, in our communities, and in our streets."

"Today we're in the streets, but tomorrow--well, not tomorrow, but maybe Wednesday, or whenever the city council meets over there, we're gonna take this, and we're gonna take it into the city council. A lot of people say, 'Well, you know, we march through the streets, we parade the streets, and we don't act in our--our civil engagement. We don't vote. We don't go to our city council.' Well that has to change in Pomona, and that is gonna change in Pomona. So this is about accountability. We wanna stop checkpoints. We wanna stop 287(g). We want Pomona to become a sanctuary city. It begins with every single one of us actually saying that we're gonna engage in the civil process, that we're gonna take responsibility for what goes on in our community."

"Hi you guys, I'm Lizbeth. I'm showing support all the way from La Puente, and my mom's showing support too. Thank you guys. This past year has been a very painful year for all of our communities. We're either being targetted by policies and legislation that are driven by fear, or personal interest. This is a time where we do not have the luxury of living at peace. Our families are being separated. Our youth is being denied an education. All the while we are sustaining this country with our cheap labor and exploitation. Our communities have endured a lot of pain and unfortunately, it will continue. But only if we allow it! We are here because we care about Pomona and because we need to be active participants of what happens in our communities."

"We are gathered here as a community to support each other in our quest for social justice and equality for our undocumented people: students, families, workers, it's time to stand up for our community and put a stop in criminalizing our people by dividing families, wasting money and resources on deportations instead of education."

"My name is Rene, along with Norman, Javier, and IDEAS Mt. SAC--they're part of this, too--Chuy, and everybody else that came out here, I wanna thank you guys all, like, deeply from the bottom of my heart for coming out here and supporting. My question to you guys is, how do you take the blindfold off people? I don't know if you guys saw the stencil right there. How do you do that? How are we gonna make other people realize that change needs to occur? We need to come up with tactics, we need to meet, we need unity, and this is what this rally is about. Growing up, I had a lot of friends, and one of my best friends--she's a girl. But we were like really cool, and then she would tell me all these things that she wanted to accomplish, and she wasn't able to. And it kinda hit me when I realized that people in this world have dreams, and they can't accomplish them over some silly things. I mean, that's how my blindfold was taken off. That's how I realized, personally, that people live here and struggle, and it's every day. Like, they constantly deal with it. And it's a problem. And it's coming to a boiling point where something needs to be done. And this is what the point of this rally is for: to unify and to create community amongst each other."

They then opened up the megaphone for other speakers, and several members of the community stepped forward to speak as well.

Shortly after the speeches, the marchers were welcomed to a free show, also held by the march organizers, at a nearby independent business.

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 16 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
again? So Damn Bad Tuesday, Feb. 01, 2011 at 1:32 PM
oh my Censored again? -why? Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011 at 1:09 AM
Why is this being hidden? can't hide the truth Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at 3:34 PM
Offtopic mous Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at 6:39 PM
Now, *I* wont say you're stupid... leave it to another reader Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011 at 1:48 AM
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Contingent Solidarity Ain't Shit worker Sunday, Apr. 03, 2011 at 6:00 AM
one track solution ck out the hidden Sunday, Apr. 03, 2011 at 2:40 PM

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