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May Day march and rally in Boyle Heights

Families unite to demand: Legalization for all, no Trump wall, no deportations!
By Carlos Montes |
May 5, 2019
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May Day march in LA.
May Day march in LA. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Los Angeles, CA - On the afternoon of May 1, International Workers Day, Boyle Heights families, workers and students protested the Trump anti-immigrant attacks and raised the demand “Legalization for all” and “No Wall on the Mexico border!”

The lead banner, with the red flag of Aztlan, called for fighting Trump. The organizers called for self-determination for Chicanos in Aztlan, the U.S. Southwest. The fifth annual May Day in Boyle Heights united hundreds of poor working-class families, students, teachers and workers, mostly Chicanos. Among the demands were respect and equality for Chicanos and Central Americans, an end to killings by the LAPD and East LA Sheriffs of Chicano youth and a stop to privatization of public schools.

The march started with a kick-off rally denouncing Trump’s attacks against immigrants. Among the speakers were Matt Harper from Los Angeles Catholic Worker and Eloisa Galindo of Eastside Parents Against Privatization. Galindo expressed unity and support in the fight against Trump’s attacks and exposed Monica Garcia for selling out LA schools to the charter lobby.

After marching for half a mile, a short protest was held at the corners of Chicago and First Street, at the LAPD Hollenbeck police station. The protest denounced the killings of eight young men including 16-year-old Jose Mendez, killed February 5, 2016, and 14-year-old Jesse Romero killed August 9, 2016. Both were child immigrants from Mexico and were raised in Boyle Heights. Several families who have lost sons to killings spoke, like Rosa Moreno whose son was killed by the Long Beach Police Department August 29, 2017, and Lisa Vargas, whose son Anthony Vargas was killed by the ELA Sheriffs on August 12, 2018.

Standing in front of the LAPD Hollenbeck station, Josefina Rizo demanded a stop to killings of Black and brown young men like her son Jose Mendez. The highlight was when Mendez’s eight-year-old sister grabbed the mic and asked LAPD Hollenbeck officers viewing the protest, “What would you do if your child was killed by cops?”

Joined by high school students from Roosevelt High School, a MEChA student said, “All the families who are suffering, we support you! We support legalization! And get rid of charters! I’m a proud student coming from a public school! Public education works!”

The march continued along First Street and was greeted by supporters. At Mariachi Plaza, a final rally was held with several speakers like Brenda Gutierrez from (AIM) American Indian Movement, who talked about the common struggles; and Yolanda Romero, mother of students at Marianna Avenue Elementary School who denounced the charter school privatization attacks at LAUSD. Romero called for fighting to support public education.

Lucy Madera, a UTLA member and Chicana teacher at Eastman Avenue Elementary, spoke about the fight against Extera Charter school in East LA. Luis Sifuentes spoke about the Centro CSO recent victory against KIPP Promesa charter school in Boyle Heights, stopping its construction where the former Lincoln Hospital is located. This success united parents, teachers, students and organizations like Eastside Padres Against Privatization and East Area teachers from UTLA to stop the KIPP Promesa Charter school project in Boyle Heights.

A large group of teenagers participated in the march and rally - many with Legacy LA. They spoke about the campaign to have a Youth Development Department for LA City and called for the end to LAPD harassment of Boyle Heights youth in the Ramona Gardens neighborhood.

A contingent from Black Lives Matter-LA and White People for Black Lives Matter marched and rallied in solidarity. The youth carried a large banner with the demand “LAPD stop killing Black and brown people.”

A powerful speech by Johanna Mustafa representing the community initiative Take on Hate spoke about the fight of the Palestinian people, stating “As a Palestinian Muslim, I cannot stay silent in the face of Trump’s racist anti-immigrant policies. From Mexico to Palestine, our enemy is one and the same. Our enemy is white supremacy. Our enemy is Zionism. The only way to win is if we fight back together, with no remorse to the capitalists that oppress us and profit off our pain and misery.”

Sol Marquez, a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization, closed May Day by speaking about farmworkers like her parents. “The working-class like my parents, creates all the wealth that these billionaires like Trump steal from us. We outnumber them. The only way we will be able to seize control of all the wealth we create - is with a revolution here, in the U.S.”

Centro CSO has monthly meetings every third Wednesday of every month 6 p.m. held at the Benjamin Franklin Public library in Boyle Heights.

May Day in Boyle Heights 2019 was endorsed by Eastside Padres Contra Privatizacion, Black Lives Matter-LA, UTLA-Breed Street Elementary school teachers, UTLA-Eastman Avenue Elementary school teachers, MEChA de Garfield High School & Roosevelt High School, Los Angeles Catholic Worker, Take on Hate, UTLA-Human Rights Committee, Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council, California for Progress, and the 50th Chicano Moratorium Committee.

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