Immigrant march signals solidarity, if not security, for the most targeted

Marcos Arellano-Martinez (center) at Westlake Park in front of the thousands who showed up to show support for immigrant's rights on Inauguration Day. (Photo by Agatha Pacheco)
Marcos Arellano-Martinez (center) at Westlake Park in front of the thousands who showed up to show support for immigrant’s rights on Inauguration Day. (Photo by Agatha Pacheco)

The Resist Trump march yesterday brought thousands of people together in solidarity for immigrants, marking the beginning of the Trump era with hope instead of fear.

It started with a rally at St. Mary’s Church in the Central District, where Juan Jose Bocanegra, from the immigrant’s right organization El Comite, spoke to the crowd about solidarity. Bocanegra was involved with the mid-1970’s American Indian Movement and has long been a champion of civil rights.

“We want [immigrants] to come out and struggle with everybody,” Bocanegra says. “This is the first struggle where we’re not alone.”

Immigrant youth who passionately followed Bocanegra to Westlake Park agreed.

“It makes me feel like we have support and we aren’t alone,” says Marcos Arellano-Martinez, 18.

Marcos Arellano-Martinez, Juan Jose Bocanegra, and Juanito Tonalcoatl Ochoa know each other through different Latino-centered organizations they participate in like Casa Latina and El Comite. (Photo by Agatha Pacheco)
Marcos Arellano-Martinez, Juan Jose Bocanegra, and Juanito Tonalcoatl Ochoa know each other through different Latino-centered organizations they participate in like Casa Latina and El Comite. (Photo by Agatha Pacheco)

Arellano-Martinez has deep ties to the immigrant community. He is a traditional folk dancer who has danced at many marches before, including at last year’s May Day. He is also undocumented and identifies as indigenous Otomi and Nahua.

After election night back in November, despite having all his paperwork ready, he was advised not to reapply for the DACA program. Arellano-Martinez can no longer work, but he still wants to go to school.

“Just because you’re Mexican and don’t have papers…you can still do so much stuff,” he says. “You have to risk it.”

At Westlake, six Latino students from Foster High School took a risk and shared their stories at the podium.

“Today I am here to talk about stopping deportations,” says Alma Morales, one of the students from Foster High School.

Morales shared how she felt confused and scared when her mother was taken by ICE when she was a little girl. Her mother did not end up getting deported and she was able to stay in the country.

“We need our voices to be heard… and keep remembering, ‘si se puede,’ yes we can,” says Morales.

Arellano-Martinez, second from left, marched down Jackson Street to Westlake Park alongside immigrants and allies chanting "la gente unida, jamas sera vencida." (Photo by Agatha Pacheco)
Arellano-Martinez, second from left, marched down Jackson Street to Westlake Park alongside immigrants and allies chanting “la gente unida, jamas sera vencida.” (Photo by Agatha Pacheco)

Throughout the rally, Arellano-Martinez stood at the front taking in the experience while holding up the El Comite banner.

“Today in the march, we weren’t just one, we were more than one,” he says. “I see hope.”

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