Thousands of Students March and Rally in Watsonville for Immigrant Rights

On Friday, March 31, 2006, thousands of students from local schools, including Watsonville High, Pajaro Valley High, Aptos High and Renaissance High, marched and rallied against HR 4437 in Watsonville. In anticipation of the walkout, both Pajaro Valley High and Watsonville High decided to close their school doors in an effort to keep students safe. Here are some photos from the march from St. Patrick’s Church to the Watsonville Plaza, Mayor Antonio Rivas and Vice-Mayor Manuel Quintero Bersamin speaking in front of the City Hall and from the rally in the Watsonville Plaza.

The following three bilingual audio files were recorded on Friday, March 31st. The first is from the rally in the Watsonville Plaza and starts off in mid-sentence of Tomas Alejo of the Watsonville Brown Berets.

Rally in the Watsonville Plaza for Immigrant Rights (52 minutes)

The second audio file is of Watsonville mayor Antonio Rivas and the third is of Watsonville vice-mayor Manuel Quintero Bersamin. Both Rivas and Bersamin spoke in front of the Watsonville City Hall located on Main Street next to the Watsonville Plaza. Rivas and Bersamin spoke just minutes before the rally in the plaza.

Mayor: Antonio Rivas — Term expires November 2006 (3 minutes)

Mayor Pro Tempore (Vice Mayor): Manuel Quintero Bersamin — Term expires November 2008 (2 minutes)

Middle schools in the Pajaro Valley School District (PVUSD) provided in-school activities to speak out against HR 4437, such as a Cesar Chavez Free Speech Rally at Lake View Middle School where students voiced their concerns to fellow students and wrote letters to government representatives. In a bilingual letter sent home with students (except PVHS and WHS) on Thursday, March 30th, PVUSD administrators tried to convince students, and their parents, that staying in school and writing letters to representatives is a more effective way of making student voices heard than walking out of class.

Despite efforts to keep middle school students in school on Friday, many middle schoolers spent their Friday morning rallying in Watsonville Plaza and marching to St. Patrick’s Church and then back to the plaza.

See Also:

Walkouts in Aptos, Watsonville, Hollister, Salinas, Santa Cruz and Greenfield for Immigrant Rights

Crossposted at Indybay.org: Photos & Audio

Author: Bradley Allen

Bradley Allen is a reporter and photographer in the Monterey Bay Area, and a collective member of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay). Follow him on social media: @BradleySA.