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Twin Cities rally and march honors the life of Jesús Estrada-Pérez

By staff |
August 14, 2015
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Banner honoring Jesús Estrada-Pérez
Banner honoring Jesús Estrada-Pérez

Minneapolis, MN - On August 9, hundreds of activists and intellectuals gathered at Northrop mall on the University of Minnesota -Twin Cities campus for a memorial rally and march in honor of Jesús Estrada-Pérez, who passed away earlier that week.

Jesús, a PhD Candidate in American Studies at the University of Minnesota (UMN), was heavily involved in activism at the university, where he helped lead the struggle to save the Chicano Studies Department and to demand racial justice from the university administration.

Just in the past semester, Estrada-Pérez organized and participated in two militant actions on campus: an occupation of UMN’s administration building with Whose Diversity?, where he was one of the 13 occupiers arrested on trespassing charges, and a banner drop off of the front of the student center on Cinco De Mayo, which read “Fund Chicano Studies: One hire is not enough.”

Those actions were crucial in pressuring the administration to begin making concessions on these issues in recent months, though activists are continuing the struggle because the small amount of progress made is not nearly enough.

Additionally, Jesús was a founding member of Queers and Unicorns Resisting Every Limit (QAUREL) and helped create a radical and activist-minded LGBTQ movement in the Twin Cities.

Jesús touched the lives of many students, staff and faculty through his teaching, writing and presence on campus. Organizers of the event and attendees alike made particular note of Jesús' activism. After a program during which several speakers acknowledged his impact on both their lives and their activism, the crowd marched across campus to Coffman Memorial Union while chanting “Jesús, presente! La lucha sigue!” and “Jesús, presente! Ahora, siempre!” Some marchers carried signs demanding action on the issues Estrada-Pérez organized around.

The Department of Chicano Studies and Department of American Studies have decided to retain Jesús’ desk and mailbox and have constructed a memorial altar in Scott Hall, which includes a banner recognizing his lead role in the banner drop in support of Chicano Studies earlier in the spring.

The Twin Cities activist community will continue to benefit from Jesús Estrada-Pérez’s life and activism and, likewise, will continue to honor his life by carrying forward the struggles he dedicated himself to.

Jesús Estrada-Pérez ¡Presente!