As we continued our march to the Ellipse Rally staging area, the chants of “Aqui Estam0s E No Los Vamos” (We are here, and we are not leaving) echoed through the crowds. The Ellipse has historically been the site of many National protests, most recently the Trump Traitors gathered there as well. The Raza gathered here to assert their rights as Americans. And maybe remind some people in this country that we are in fact – Americans. 

A Govea


Before I got to stand and listen to speakers I had to go and find some of the kids in our group that had wandered off. In a crowd of at least 80,000 plus it was no easy feat. The dominant message was one of, “We demand respect”. We are not a burden to this country; we are an asset. And as our numbers continue to grow elected officials must respect us. Blaming our community for the country’s woes will no longer be allowed without a challenge. Juan Jose Gutierrez, the march coordinator said, “Sometimes it seems the reactionary forces of darkness are carrying the day, but we are more then they are, and we will find a door to let the light in again”.

  Among the participants were Latinos of every flavor and color. Puerto Ricans from the East Coast, Guatemalan Indian activists, Ecuadoran, and bunch of left-over Chicanos from Texas and beyond. The group that really stood out for many was the 500 or so Bangladeshis from Brooklyn. There were some celebrities like Geraldo Rivera which soon after took a hard right turn. Some Latino members of Congress included Nydia M. Velasquez D-NY who sarcastically thanked House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his bunch of followers for bringing this Latino community together. LULAC National President Belen Robles also addressed the crowd. Perhaps the most touching speaker was Ramon Baez whose 12-year-old son died in a scuffle with police. A Judge found the officer not guilty because the boy had an asthma condition that may have contributed to his death. Unfortunately, that has happened time and time again. Hopefully the death of George Floyd and the outcry that followed will change that. 

  Although I personally can say despite the massive crowds the March and Rally was peaceful. However, some ant-immigrant groups did try to engage the crowd but were redirected by park officers. Part of this group held a news conference at the Willard Hotel which is close to the White House. They denounced the rally as a group of radical extremists. And suggested that the INS should raid the event, so we could all wake up happier and go back to work. 

 The main demands that were put on the agenda was free education for all, from kindergarten to college, amnesty for immigrants and a raise in the minimum wage. At that time they were calling for $7.00 an hour. Sadly, 25 years later we have yet to realize most of those demands. And just like back then, our community is still often used as the scapegoat. Especially by the one that was elected president in 2016. Pero Biden, and most serious Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls used a lot of those same demands as part of their platform. Which makes me believe that our voice is being heard and the way to make it heard the loudest is at the ballot box. 

  Which brings me to the present. The Republican party now knows that as the communities of color grow, so does our pollical strength. So that is why we see all the new oppressive voting laws in Texas and most Republication controlled states. Their mission is to dilute, or in some cases completely take away our voting rights and power. We cannot return to the Jim Crow era because to do so would erase the work of our forefathers. The fight for equality and justice will continue and we must all do our part. As Corky Gonzalez once said, “I may wear out, but I will not rust out”. The future is in your hands.

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