I just got back from City Hall where I was taking pictures of the thousands of students who walked out of class today. From talking to the students they organized via word of mouth, myspace, sms, cell phones and from what they saw on the news. The schools represented included: Belmont, Belvedere, BVM, Downtown High, San Gabriel, Marshal, Roosevelt, Virgil Middle, King Middle, LA High, Downtown Magnate High, Fairfax, Mira Costa, Alhambra, Century, Mark Kepel, Schurr, Wilson, Lincoln, Foshay, El Sereno, Manual Arts, Hollywood High, Hollenbeck and Dorsey.
The students were there protesting the HR4437 bill which they feared would make their parents felons and take them away. They saw the bill as racism and bigotry and talked about how their parents weren’t criminals, they were hard workers and would be here legally if the immigration wasn’t so difficult. A man named Nativo Vigil Lopez from Hermandad Mexicana was calling on the students not to return to school and to show their opposition by staying in front of City Hall.
The students were chanting “We Want the Mayor” and after a few hours, Mayor Villlaraigosa came out of City Hall and all the students rushed to hear him speak. He told them that yesterday and the day before the people of Los Angeles gave a strong message to the country and that Sensenbrenner’s legislation would not pass. He spoke in support of the McCain bill and told the students that their message was heard, but they should do what their parents would want and that was for them to go back to school.
Soon after he was done talking a few hundred more students showed up and crowd rallied around them. It didn’t look like anybody was about to go home. I ran in to Don Garza and we talked about the whole situation and then spoke with some students. I took several hundred photos and I
am uploading them now .
In other news, my photos from Saturday are going to be featured on CNN’s Situation Room at around 5pm EST. I don’t get cable so if somebody out there could tivo it I would be greatly appreciative! My photos were also featured here.