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Boyle Heights May Day protest demands end to deportations and police killings

By staff |
May 4, 2017
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Boyle Heights May Day march.
Boyle Heights May Day march. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Los Angeles, CA – The beautiful and unified chants of, “Chicano power! Immigrant power! Student power!” and “Que viva la Raza! Que viva Aztlán! Que viva Mexico!” was heard through the streets of the Chicano neighborhood of Boyle Heights, May 1. The spirited May Day march proceeded on Chavez Avenue in the heart of Boyle heights where residents came out to cheer and show support. A short rally was held at the corners of Chicago and First Street at the LAPD Hollenbeck police station to denounce the killings of Jose “Peruzzi” Mendez, Jesse Romero and other youth.

Chicano revolutionary Carlos Montes called on the protest participants to continue to fight beyond May 1, by organizing in our neighborhoods, schools and work places to defend against ICE raids and police brutality, while building the movement for equality and self-determination.

Libeth Galaviz of Centro CSO spoke about a recent immigration case of Teresa de Jesus Vidal Jaime in Boyle Heights, “When our community is attacked, we stand together and fight back. La lucha sigue y sigue and we will continue to defy and resist until our right to live is as valued as the fruits of our labor.”

Roosevelt High school student and leader of MEChA Edna Galaviz delivered a speech at the May Day rally, in which she spoke about her own father being deported when Galaviz was only 12 years old. Trump’s ICE orders to continue attacking the undocumented spell bad news for many, especially in neighborhoods with high numbers of immigrants like Boyle Heights. “We fight today not only for him, but for many others who are afraid to speak out and fight back against deportations,” said Galaviz

Estela Rodriguez, mother of Edwin Rodriguez, who was murdered Feb. 14, 2016 by East LA sheriffs, spoke against the Trump orders giving police more powers and about his supporting the “blue lives matter” call.

Josefina Rizo, mother of Jose “Peruzzi” Mendez – a Mexican undocumented youth killed by LAPD on Feb. 6, 2016, denounced the brutal murder of her son and the current deportations taking place in Boyle Heights.

The May Day protest was the third annual march and rally was organized by Centro CSO: Community Service Organization and called for an end to Trump ICE raids, an end to police brutality, and an end to U.S. wars and occupations. The overall main demand was for respect and equality for Mexicans, Chicanos and Central Americans.

Omar Ortiz, a member of Centro CSO who provided security during May Day, said, “Our May Day in Boyle Heights was different because local youth came out in high numbers. They’re becoming part of the movement to fight back without being afraid of their oppressors.”

“We became Chicanos when the U.S. forced Mexico to draw the line along the Southwest,” said Sol Marquez of the FRSO. “So be proud of who you are! You are Chicano! And we must lead ourselves to fight for full equality; no one will do it for us, but ourselves.”

Mothers and students from Marianna Avenue Elementary also participated in the march after celebrating a victory against being forced to co-locate with KIPP Promesa Charter School. Karla Gonzalez, a parent of three Marianna Ave students, said, “As parents, we need to be involved in fighting against what the empire tries to force on our children. Hate and disrespect being two of them. Fight the charter schools who are part of the privatization threat. Continue fighting back, continue uniting.”

The protest was endorsed by Roosevelt HS and CSULA Mecha, SDS PCC, Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council, Latino Equality Alliance, Lusito’s Tortas, MORENA, Hermandad Mexicana La Original, Parents United of Marianna Elementary School, CARECEN, NLG, Pro Uno, FRSO, and Congreso Latino. Security for the march was provided by students of MEXA de ELAC as well as various members of Centro CSO.

Next up for Centro CSO is a protest on May 20, 11 a.m., in front of LAPD-Hollenbeck to demand the cops be jailed and fired for the killing of Jesse Romero and Jose “Peruzzi” Mendez.