Protests growing on East Side of Los Angeles: Getting ready for May Day march
Los Angeles, CA – This spring has brought a rising tide of protests in the in the primarily Chicano communities of East Los Angeles (ELA) and Boyle Heights. The community has taken to the street to protest privatization of public schools, for student rights, and against police terror. Preparations are underway for a powerful May Day protest that will unite the community on the many issues, with the main demands being “Legalization for all” and “No deportations.”
Protest privatization by charter schools
Griffith School Middle School parents, students and teachers took to the street on April 18 to protest a proposed co-location by Kipp Academy. The enthusiastic crowed marched in the heart of ELA, down Atlantic Boulevard to Whittier Boulevard, the site of the Kipp Charter school, where they held a militant rally.
Parent Maria Contreras condemned the proposed co-location as an attack on ELA community public schools. Along the route, marchers received shouts of support from the public.
On April 10, parents and teachers at several charter-targeted schools held a large protest rally at LAUSD headquarters to expose the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board members, like Monica Garcia, who are in collaboration with the charter school industry. The California Charter School Association has funded millions of dollars to elect a pro-charter LAUSD board majority. Dena Elementary School parents and teachers also led several protests against a proposed charter co-location and were successful in stopping the threat.
Centro CSO: Community Service Organization has participated in these protests to support the parents andas a strong ally of United Teachers of LA. LAUSD has been the target of Eli Broad, a local billionaire who has called for privatizing 50% of LAUSD in ten years. He and other corporate right-wing giants support political candidates who tout their agenda, like the sellout, Antonio Villaraigosa, who is running for California governor. Their goal is to destroy public sector unions and privatize government services as part of the neoliberal Republican attack.
Garfield HS students lead walkout
Chicano students led a large walkout at Garfield High School on April 20 to protest school police officers’ random searches and for school safety. The students were not intimidated by the school administration threats. The walkout led to a march to local Obregon Park for a rally led by students. Valeria Salazar, a MECHA member, called for the end to student ‘random’ searches in school and called them discriminatory, targeting Chicano and Black students. Other students called for better school funding, more counselors, and an end to student tracking. Students invited Carlos Montes, an original ELA walkout leader 50 years ago, to speak at end of rally, where he said he graduated from Garfield High School class of 1966. He congratulated the students for a successful walkout, chanted “Chicana power” and talked about the fight against the privatization of schools via Kipp charters. He also denounced the LAPD killings of Chicano youth in Boyle Heights. Montes called on students to join the May Day march and rally planned in Boyle Heights to demand “Legalization for all” and “Stop deportations.”
The May Day event in Boyle Heights is planned to start at 2 p.m. at the corner of Chavez Avenue and Mathews for a march to Mariachi Plaza. For more information call 323-943-2030 or see Facebook: Centro CSO.