Remembering the Times: March 2006 in L.A.

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PHOTO BY EMILIO FLORES/LA OPINIÓN

This past March marked ten years since the historic march against House Resolution 4437, which was a bill passed by the 109th House of Representatives in late 2005 during the Bush administration’s tenure. Also known as the “Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act,” the proposed legislation sought to make undocumented immigrants into felons for lacking citizenship and criminalize organizations offering assistance to them, including clinics, churches, and other non-profit organizations.

I was fifteen years old in 2006, and I walked out of school with my peers to march alongside other students and workers across Los Angeles and the country in solidarity with immigrant families. Schools were on lock-down all across the city, but the voices of the students would not be repressed. The walk-outs culminated on Saturday, March 25, 2006, when an estimated 500,000 to 1 million people stormed the streets of downtown Los Angeles to protest.

LA OPINIÓN/ARCHIVES

What a marvelous time it was to be a teenager! The massive, nationwide marches pressured Congress and H.R. 4437 would ultimately not be passed by the U.S. Senate. Moreover, the marches created momentum for pro-immigrant organizers and their allies that would last for years.

Most of all, though, their energy would inspire a generation of new leaders who saw how the power of their pueblo was truly a formidable force when united; students linked arms with their parents, workers with allies, and so much more.

Today, Jimbo Times: The L.A. Storyteller still owes its foundations to a chant I first heard when marching with the people on the streets of L.A:

El pueblo unido, jamas sera vencido!

The people united will never be defeated!

J.T.