Today We March, Tomorrow We Vote

Protesters

Across the nation today, millions of people marched in solidarity against the drastic HR4437 bill that the US senate approved a few months ago. In Los Angeles there were 3 separate marches scheduled including one in Downtown Los Angeles. It rained on and off throughout the day and when I arrived at La Placita I was worried that it would rain on me and my camera (selfish, yes I know) and at the same time I was a bit disappointed by the apparent turnout which looked to be around two thousand people. When 5 o’clock rolled around everybody gathered around the small stage where Cardinal Mahoney was gathered with an eclectic group of religious authority figures of varying faiths including a rabbi, an imam, several priests, a cantor, a buddhist monk and a reverend from Barbados.

Cardinal Mahoney

Each speaker gave their rousing talks, most in English and Spanish, and the crowd went wild, feverishly waving their American flags. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa opened his talk with a polite request for the protesters to roll up and stow away their non-American flags. He said that the flags from other countries would not help their cause, and most of the protesters obliged his request. I would estimate that that 95 out of 100 flags were red, white and blue with stars and stripes.

Cantor Steve Puzarne led the crowd in his own custom version of the classic religious song about Moses’ request to the pharaoh to “Let My People Go” [the song is actually titled Go Down Moses], but instead the chorus was replaced with “Let Our People Stay.” The song was very moving and the whole crowd sang along enthusiastically.

After the song and a few more speakers, including some high school students, the mayor introduced the president of the NAACP, Bruce S. Gordon who spoke of his and the NAACP’s support for the immigrants and their families and compared their strife to that of blacks in the last civil rights movement of the past century. He spoke out against a wall, both physical and emotional, that would keep immigrants out, just like a wall had kept out the sons and daughters of former slaves, a wall that just came down 30 years ago.

Villaraigosa and Gordon

After the speakers were finished they headed out behind the stage and I followed which gave me a chance to get in front of the procession and get some great shots of Villaraigosa and Gordon walking side by side with the library tower in the background. I walked with the protesters as they made their way around Chinatown and eventually to the Fletcher Bowron park across Temple from City Hall. I was surprised to see what must have been over 15,000 people make their way to the park and fill in the streets around it. A live band played and several people spoke while the crowd waved their flags patriotically. As it grew dark they lit candles standing together in support.

Protesters

On a side note, I only ran in to one blogger BeFrank, whom I had never met before, but recognized from his photos. He snapped a photo of me and said it would be up later tonight on his blog. Don Garza was there, although I didn’t see him, but he took some great photos and quoted the mayor on his site. I am kicking myself for not checking the mail before I left, for if I had I would have discovered my new Olympus DM-10 voice recorder had just arrived and I would have actually been able to have some quotes in this article. Oh well, next time!

[You can find the complete set of my photos here.]

city hall glowing

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13 Replies to “Today We March, Tomorrow We Vote”

  1. Awesome pics, wish I could have made it out there.

    My question now is… how many people there were protesting because they want to actually be US citizens, vs those who just want to legally work in the US?

  2. Great images from what seems to be a very spirited and secular protest. One can feel the energy percolating out from the pictures, great work.

  3. Do we really want people in this country that don’t understand the concept of “Illegal”?

  4. Hey, I did manage to get a quick post up. Good job on the words and pictures. I hope to get something posted on it myself, but it’s going to have to keep until the morning.

    I was also happy to find out that I’ve visited your site before. I’m old and my memory isn’t as good as I remember it was.

  5. What’s with the MEXICAN FLAG!? If you’re so PROUD of being MEXICAN (a nationality, NOT a race), THEN GO BACK TO MEXICO!

    Why did it take the Mayor of LA to “ask” them to take them down? Didn’t any of these people think “maybe we shouldn’t be flying the flag of the foreign nation that we abandoned to come to the US illegaly and then ask to be granted citizenship there”?

  6. Dear Mayor Villaraigosa,

    Perhaps when you’re not too busy marching in parades with future illegal Democratic voters who take great pleasure in thumbing noses at long-standing immigration laws……you might take a little drive over-the-hill and cruise your lowrider limo down our lovely pothole-laden San Fernando Valley streets.

    Si Se Puede Repare Su Calle!

  7. Ancient – the flags actually help to show the diversity – they are Mexicans, Salvadorians, Columbians … they show where they came from, the voice they speak with.

    I don’t think most are asking for citizenship … they’re asking to not be criminals by their simple presence. They want to be part of America, if only for a short period of time and be able to contribute legally. By legitimizing them, they pay taxes (besides the sales tax) and pay into the system that people say that they’re draining.

    Citizenship and origin are totally different things.

  8. I wanna marry Rev. Alexia Salvatierra. I mean it. I’m not even joking. I’m tired of hiding my crush on this woman. I’m just coming out and saying it.

    I’ve talked it over with my wife and she’s okay with it.

  9. As usual, great photos. I’ve found I’m becoming somewhat of an armchair activist. I didn’t even learn about the rally at UCLA until afterward.

    What always bothers me is that people think only undocumented immigrants are present at these rallies. There is a misunderstanding that many Latinos who are not immigrants themselves are against enforcement only legislation and favor legalization for undocumented immigrants.

  10. I am a nurse and have co-workers that are not citzens of the USA and they work very hard but it is difficult to come up with the money required to apply for citizenship. I know that it takes two good incomes just make it now days so can the money be a factor too?

  11. I understand these people want a better life. I have traveled through parts of Mexico and assure you I would do everything possible to get across to provide for my children too,but with that being said,we can’t just allow everyone that wants to come here to do so! This place wouldn’t be worth coming to if we allowed any and everyone in. Obviously they think they have the power with all of their protest and claiming a national day to boycott sales where they don’t purchase anything. I say all the people that are for harsher immigration laws boycott the economy and lets see who has more power. The citizens of this country or the illegals and sympathizers. I promise you if Americans want to voice their objections they better get off thier duff.

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