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Militant march on May Day in Boyle Heights

Demands Legalization for all, dump Trump, stop police killings of Chicano youth
By staff |
May 2, 2016
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Marching on May Day in Los Angeles. (FightBack!News/Jason Gallegos)

Los Angeles, CA - A militant march and rally was held on International Workers Day, May 1 that brought out the Boyle Heights community by the hundreds. Raising the demands of Legalization for all, dump Trump, and stop police killings of Chicanos, the protest was organized by Centro Community Service Organization (Centro CSO).

The march was led by people holding banners reading “Legalization for all.” Two large red flags also led the march. Waving and yelling at the top of their lungs, Garfield High School students carried the two flags, one of Aztlán and the other with the slogan “Liberation not deportation.”

As the militant crowd lined up to march, they were fired up and began chanting, “Chicano power,” “Aqui estamos y no nos vamos, y si nos echán, regresamos!” (We are here! And we’re not leaving! And if they deport us, we’ll be right back!) and “Dump Trump!”

Leading chants on the back of a pickup truck, Sol Márquez kicked off the march by asking the crowd, “Who’s ready to march to the police station and demand justice?” The march started on Soto and Chavez in the heart of Boyle Heights and was greeted by many cheers and waves from the public.

Marchers stopped for a short rally at the LAPD Hollenbeck police station to denounce police killings of Chicano youth.Three families in Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles have fallen victim to police killings in 2016. They all joined the march. The three Chicanos murdered were Edwin Rodriguez killed by LA County sheriffs on Feb. 14; Jose Mendez, killed by LAPD-Hollenbeck Feb. 6; and Arturo Valdez killed by LAPD-Hollenbeck April 10.

In front of LAPD station Jhony Mendez shouted into the microphone, “My little brother Jose Mendez was only 16 years old when LAPD shot and killed him. And to this day LAPD has never shown us their faces, because they know they are in the wrong.”

Estela Rodriguez, shouted and pointed to LAPD, “My 24-year-old son was shot 17 times, all in the back or to the back of his head. It’s time we bring Edwin Rodriguez’s case to justice.”

The spirited march ended with a high energy rally at the historic Mariachi Plaza. Blanca Valdez, long time education activist, talked about her son Arturo being shot in the head by the LAPD.

Isabel Ocampo of Centro CSO talked about the militant spirit of the undocumented youth and the fight for deferred action for all. “It is time undocumented people come out of the shadows and join the fight for legalization,” said Ocampo.

Long time Chicano leader Carlos Montes spoke to the crowd, “Self-determination for all Chicanos, political and economic control for our people. Are you down with me? We can keep fighting years for reforms, but real change will come from revolution!” The crowd overwhelmingly agreed by chanting, “Viva la revolucion!” (Long live revolution)”

MECHA de Roosevelt High School and the undocumented students of SURGE, of California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) urged support for the fight for public education and immigrant rights. Leonardo Vilchis of Union de Vecinos also talked about the fight against evictions and raising rents!

Participants in the event included students and families of Boyle Heights and ELA, members of Centro CSO, Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), Union de Vecinos, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), CSULA SURGE, East Los Angeles College M.E.Ch.A, Roosevelt High School M.E.Ch.A, Garfield High School M.E.Ch.A, GABRIELA Los Angeles, Anakbayan Los Angeles, The Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) of Los Angeles, Assoc. of Ex Braceros, local rank and file Teamsters from UPS, the MORENA party of Mexico, , Human Rights Alliance for Child Refugees, Serve the People, and two different chapters of the Brown Berets.

Sol Márquez concluded the rally stating, “We thank all of you who were present today demanding justice for all Chicanos killed by LAPD and LA sheriffs. And we thank our Black brothers and sisters who have fought back against their own national oppression at the hands of the state – and their movement is only growing. We must unite since our interests are the same: Liberation now, freedom now! And let us also never forget that women hold up half the sky!”

Centro CSO will be holding a meeting May 18 at the Benjamin Franklin library, for upcoming plans against police crimes and actions for Deferred Action for Parents (DAPA). For more information about Centro CSO https://centrocso.wordpress.com/

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