Deportation and Internment camps have been on a lot of people’s minds since #Trump was elected, and as Monday’s #ElectorateVote is nearing Los Angeles showed up all weekend to protest with vigor. To even mutter the words Internment Camps again is bone chilling. Today on National Migrants Day we gathered in Pershing Square with tens of thousands of people, lining both sides of the streets as if they were ours and we marched with the organization and the ease of long time pros that were lead mostly en Espanol: it was truly a multicultural experience. Large groups of protesters, lead by the likes of labor force and union organizers, churches, endowments, coalitions, agencies, immigrants, protectors, people real people and their familias. Although, I do have to add as a side, I’m not sure whether there are fewer Muslims in Los Angeles than other parts of America or if because of the threat of the Trump Administration and the Internment camps they are too fearful or have already left but I do feel that the Latino presence was the most visible. To that I say: Los Angeles IS a Sanctuary City and we love our Muslim brothers and sisters, we embrace all immigrants, we chanted for you today and have chanted for you every single protest I have attended and will continue to support you.
Looking around, it was something of a relief to find myself surrounded by so many brown faces. When you think about it, it’s a rare occurrence to find yourself amongst thousands of brown people all at once. You begin to notice when outsiders are committing faux pas or acting out because maybe for the first time in their lives they feel like a sore thumb, but the truth was the more the merrier. This protest had more of a rally feel to it, there was a marching band that gave the air life, the birds would fly about above when we would round a corner like you might imagine they would in nature only we were marching in the streets of our home with brigade in front and behind.
The chants were mostly in Spanish, and the signs too. There’s something so comforting about the Spanish language, I’m not sure what it is, but in their battle cries it feels almost like something inside me breathes a sigh of relief as if to say, good: someone finally said it. Or at LAST you’re doing it! Or they’re standing up too because they really need you. Or, just look at what happens when we all get together, look at the power and unity. Or just Thank you, thank you for saying it it had to be said. And adding to that the feeling of comfort- the Jugos men selling iced juices fresh squeezed, or the flags I ALWAYS want to wave a flag (maybe it goes back to Caesar Chavez’ Funeral when we marched and I loved my flag so much I waved it all around the house endlessly). Today, after we marched we all convened at City Hall. Gathering, the crowd had diminished a bit as it usually does but it was still massive, we all stood and listened as real politicians spoke to the people Como Le Gente. At a Rally and March for Immigrant rights, for Labor rights, for Racial Justice, for Environmental Protection, for Unity and Compassion for all People of All Colors we stood listening to Latino Politicians vowing to stand up for Californians and the rights of all people as Americans.
As the Rally wrapped up I couldn’t help but feel energized and hopeful that if we can utilize this energy that if for every person that turned up there were just one or two more that couldn’t make it, then there were in fact hundreds of thousands of people who feel the same way as we do. And if that’s true, then, we can turn things around. It will take time, it will take much more effort and pain and deliberate action, but there is great reward too. I never would have been able to see the communities I’ve seen united by these Marches, Protests, Rallies, I’ve never seen the differences but also the similarities in culture and community that are so beautiful and elegant. Like a man who shows up to provide us with nutritious, chilled, hand pressed juices while also committing his energy to the causa. Or the woman who made salsa with avocados and cilantro to go on top of the bacon wrapped hot dog special just for today that I got to eat after all was said and done to go with the sweet sweet OJ. All for just $6. It’s that there’s soul in every bite of that hot dog, the stories, the lives of the people who lug the cartès to make the food: I feel them and I support them every time they come out and support me. They are immigrants and their lives matter to me, it’s the little things that I love like the smell of the onions in the bacon fat cooking on their flattop that I can never resist but why would I ever want to when it supports exactly what we were out there marching for? Why would I when they are what make my LA great and make me feel like I have friends everywhere I go.
This Philipino Beauty says “California For Everyone”
And this Pup chose us as her Pack Leader Not DT:
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