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Undocumented and unarmed farmworker Antonio Zambrano-Montes murdered by Pasco Police

Interview with Fabian Ubay, a leader in the fight to get justice for Zambrano
Interview by staff |
February 27, 2015
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Pasco, Washington protest demands justice for Antonio Zambrano-Montes.
Pasco, Washington protest demands justice for Antonio Zambrano-Montes. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

On Feb. 10, an undocumented farm-worker, Antonio Zambrano-Montes was shot 17 times and killed by Pasco Police in Pasco, Washington. That Zambrano-Montes was supposedly throwing rocks is the excuse Pasco Police are using to justify his the murder. Fight Back! spoke with Fabian Ubay, who organized the first event - a Feb. 14 rally of 5000 - demanding justice for the surviving family of Zambrano-Montes. Ubay is a Chicano who was born, raised, and currently lives in Pasco.

Fight Back!: Why did you organize the first-ever protest demanding justice for Zambrano-Montes?

Ubay: There was no one standing up and fighting against the Pasco Police. Obviously, the police and even the politicians are going to try to keep the entire thing quiet. We, as the people of Pasco, needed to rise up and fight back.

Fight Back!: How did you hear about the Zambrano-Montes shooting and killing?

Ubay: I have always been close to the Zambrano family. I knew them before Zambrano was murdered and I am still close to them, now.

Fight Back!: Why did the family call on you to organize the first rally?

Ubay: I'm not embarrassed to talk and advocate for the people. And even though I had never organized a protest before, maybe the Zambrano family thought I could do something. I'm a musician and am used to speaking in front of people. I immediately had to hit the ground to organize this rally the day after Zambrano was killed, and tried organizing something as fast as possible. People were calling me, even the police contacted me to try to see what we would be doing during our rally.

Fight Back!: Tell us about the rally the day after Zambrano-Montes was murdered. Were people scared?

Ubay: Yes, people were really scared. They were asking me why there were snipers up on-top of the buildings.

Fight Back!: There were snipers on buildings while you all peacefully, marched?

Ubay: Yes. The snipers’ guns were pointing down at us, as if they were going to shoot us. There were so many of them, too. We had no weapons! We were demanding justice with our words, with our numbers, with our banners and our signs. People were very scared, but I kept reassuring them and telling them not to pay attention to them. I told them the snipers were there to intimidate us, so we kept marching.

Fight Back!: How did you secure your own protest?

Ubay: We bought 50 orange vests, we had radios which we were yelling into and leading the entire march and rally. People wanted to get involved themselves, they found the power within themselves to say, 'I'm gonna protect this event.' It was the community rising up, we were all directly from the community and we were demanding to protect our community.

Fight Back!: What was the family's reaction during the rally?

Ubay: All the family members and myself, marched together. The family didn't yell at the cops or anything like that, because there were no cops around. Aside from the snipers with their guns up on the roofs, no cop was on the ground with us.

Fight Back!: What are the demands from the Zambrano-Morales family as well as the immigrant, Chicano and Mexican community of Pasco?

Ubay: The family wants justice! Zambrano's mother wants the police officer to pay for the over-kill of her son. The shooting and killing is an act that is not uncommon, here in Pasco. One of the police officers who was present during the shooting slammed a Latina woman's face against his police vehicle. Pasco police now are paying her $100,000 in damages because of this cop. These are the type of cops present here in Pasco, and this is what we have to deal with in our community. We want justice and we want things to go in a better direction. The people of Pasco are already moving in the correct direction.

Fight Back!: During the rally did the police try to intimidate you?

Ubay: No, they didn't even try to touch me. With over 5000 people around me, no one would even dare to try to attack any of us during our rally and march.

Fight Back!: What types of attacks did you experience after you organized this rally?

Ubay: Facebook deleted my profile. The Facebook profile I had built throughout the many years was just gone. No warning at all was given to me, either. When I went to sign on right after the rally, my profile was just gone. I had to make a new one, actually.

Fight Back!: What would you tell people who want to fight back in their own communities?

Ubay: The way we have to see it is we have to take control of our own streets. We have to keep pushing against these attacks, it is our responsibility. Push back. Push back. Push back. Don't stop until you control your own streets. Just like us in Pasco, we won't stop until there is justice.

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