4th annual May Day march draws 300 protesters

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Nearly 300 people rallied on City College’s campus before beginning the 1.4-mile Immigrants Rights March to Chicano Park on May 1.

The fourth annual May Day reform march included community members from 25-30 ethnically-blended organizations, a bulk being Mexican. Their goal was legalization and the right to migrate, an end to immigration raids, dignified work for all and an end to wasteful spending on border fences.

“Si se puede! Stop the raids now!” was just one of the many chants heard echoing throughout the streets of downtown San Diego during the march.

Some passers-by honked from their cars while others stood waving from the balcony of their apartment buildings as the peaceful protesters marched on.

“The law is fundamentally flawed,” said David Schmidt, one of the march organizers and member of the City College club Si Se Puede.

“Working people, women, mothers and children are not criminals. The right to migrate is a human right,” said Schmidt, criticizing the immigration laws and border walls in the U.S.

May Day marches took place in many major cities around the U.S. in an attempt to remind Obama about his criticisms on immigration raids and border walls. “We’re not gonna let him forget what he said,” said Schmidt.

Daniel Armenta, City College student and member of Si Se Puede, passionately performed a spoken-word piece that shared his belief for a “time to change,” one of the verbally accentuated lines in his poem.

Among the group of protesters, a City College student and activist, Lucesita Gomez waved her Mexican flag in honor and memory of her mother, who died last year. Gomez’s grandfather, who never got citizenship, didn’t believe he had to become an American to live in America.

“Immigrant rights really are human rights and shouldn’t get taken away,” said Gomez.

More than 4,000 people have died trying to cross the border since 1994 and the launch of “Operation Gatekeeper” under the Clinton Administration, according to Avery Wear, socialist and member of Si Se Puede.

“Gatekeeper is getting heavier, more extreme. Now [immigrants] have to deal with racism, poor working conditions and ‘scapegoating,'” said Wear. “That’s why I think it’s so important to organize this event.”

Police escorted the marchers to Chicano park, closing down streets along the way.

Organizers wearing green armbands were trained to handle the crowd in case of a counter-strike, which could result with violence.

However, the demonstration remained peaceful as marchers met rally speakers and food vendors waiting for them at Chicano Park.

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