More than 1,000 activists ended their hours-long rally and march through Hollywood on Saturday on a high note after getting word that Gov. Jerry Brown had signed several bills that would ease conditions for immigrants.
Just before noon on Saturday, a swelling crowd of union workers, immigrants and activists started their march down Western Avenue before turning onto Sunset Boulevard and finally Vine Street.
Oscar Valladares, 34, was heading down Sunset holding a purple “Citizenship for the 11 million” sign. When told that Brown had signed the Trust Act, the father of a 4-year-old rejoiced.
Under the new legislation, law enforcement officials in California who arrest immigrants in the country illegally will be prohibited from detaining them for transfer to federal authorities unless they are suspected of committing a serious crime.
The Trust Act is the second milestone bill on immigration signed by Brown this week. On Thursday, he approved a measure allowing immigrants in the country illegally to receive state driver’s licenses.
“California is sending a clear message to Washington,” said Valladares, who came to the U.S. at age 7 and didn’t gain legal resident status until 2007. “Families no longer have to live in fear. Children will know that at the end of the day, they’re going to see their parents.”
The activists marched to the 1600 block of Vine Street, just blocks from landmarks such as theCapitol Records building and Pantages Theatre. Speakers stood on the bed of a truck and spoke from a microphone. Protesters clumped together on the street and sidewalk to listen.
“For our families, for our futures, we will keep marching!” one speaker said to raucous cheers.
LAPD Capt. Peter Zarcone, who monitored the rally and march, estimated there were between 1,000 and 2,000 attendees, and called the event “very peaceful and very positive.” The rally ended shortly after 1 p.m.
Throughout the morning, activists pressed Congress to end the gridlock over Obamacare, reopen government and pass immigration reform that would create a pathway to citizenship for about 11 million people.
Near the end of the event, leaders on the truck bed rolled our large banners depicting House SpeakerJohn A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield). Under their photos was a caption that read: “We won’t let you stop us.”
Citlalli Chavez, a political organizer with SEIU United Service Workers West, called Saturday a “national day for dignity and respect.”
“We want to end all deportations immediately, we want to keep families together,” she said. “And we’re ready to vote [politicians] out of office if they don’t get their act together.”
Some activists in Hollywood on Saturday said Brown’s signature on the Trust Act showed that California government was setting an example for the rest of the country.
Shouting over the roars of marchers, Jorge Garavito, 22, of Rialto, called the passage of the Trust Act “huge.”
“This is exactly what we’re looking for, said Garavito, whose father was deported when Jorge was 3. “The governor is recognizing the power of the people and that this is what the people want. This is what California promises to the people who come here.”
Courtesy of Los Angeles Times