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Between 70 and 80% of public elementary, middle and high school students in California are Hispanic, and they face an enormous number of challenges, such as: low family income, high school dropout, schools in poor conditions, etc. Other challenges that the children of immigrants have to overcome are the poor command of the English language and the low average schooling of most of their parents, as well as the irregular legal status of many of them. Until 2006, Latino students had the lowest percentage of high school completion in the United States. Only 56% of them complete this level of education, and only 12% obtain good grades.

It is not free, then, that Hispanic high school students have been one of the largest and most enthusiastic contingents in the spring mobilizations. In fact, they constituted a movement within the movement. Their specific demand is to demand that the Dream Act Bill be approved , which would allow a greater number of them to attend University at the end of Baccalaureate.

While the March 12 mobilization in Chicago was the starting point and inspiration for the wave of subsequent marches, the Los Angeles metropolitan area was the epicenter of student mobilizations. Beginning March 24, spontaneous student demonstrations erupted in East Los Angeles (the historical emblem of the Mexican-American communities) and in the cities of Huntigton Park, Bell and Southgate, where the vast majority of its inhabitants are Mexican immigrants. The marches of the young preparatory students from those cities spread to other regions of the United States. The march of the 24th was the last rehearsal prior to the first great angelic demonstration on March 25. On Monday, March 27, students from the two levels of high school again took to the streets, with the difference that when they were broadcast by local newscasts and later broadcast to the entire American Union, they increased their mobilization. School authorities attempted to contain student demonstrations at Southgate School and other campuses; but his companions at Bell, Huntington Park and Southeast pressed so hard that they broke the fence. Later, they would be joined by Latino and African American students at Watts and South Central, as well as Dorsey, Locke and Manual Arts schools. All of them demonstrated in the City Hall, Los Angeles County Government building, and managed to get Mayor Antonio Villaraygoza to express their support, although days later, when the marches continued, he asked them not to carry out any more student stops. they enhanced their mobilization. School authorities attempted to contain student demonstrations at Southgate School and other campuses; but his companions at Bell, Huntington Park and Southeast pressed so hard that they broke the fence. Later, they would be joined by Latino and African American students at Watts and South Central, as well as Dorsey, Locke and Manual Arts schools. All of them demonstrated in the City Hall, the Los Angeles County Government building, and managed to get Mayor Antonio Villaraygoza to express their support for them, although days later, when the marches continued, he asked them not to carry out any more student stops. they enhanced their mobilization. School authorities attempted to contain student demonstrations at Southgate School and other campuses; but his companions at Bell, Huntington Park and Southeast pressed so hard that they broke the fence. Later, they would be joined by Latino and African American students at Watts and South Central, as well as Dorsey, Locke and Manual Arts schools. All of them demonstrated in the City Hall, Los Angeles County Government building, and managed to get Mayor Antonio Villaraygoza to express their support, although days later, when the marches continued, he asked them not to carry out any more student stops. Huntington Park and Southeast pressed so hard that they broke the fence. Later, they would be joined by Latino and African American students at Watts and South Central, as well as Dorsey, Locke and Manual Arts schools. All of them demonstrated in the City Hall, Los Angeles County Government building, and managed to get Mayor Antonio Villaraygoza to express their support, although days later, when the marches continued, he asked them not to carry out any more student stops. Huntington Park and Southeast pressed so hard that they broke the fence. Later, they would be joined by Latino and African American students at Watts and South Central, as well as Dorsey, Locke and Manual Arts schools. All of them demonstrated in the City Hall, Los Angeles County Government building, and managed to get Mayor Antonio Villaraygoza to express their support, although days later, when the marches continued, he asked them not to carry out any more student stops.(walk outs). With a continuity not seen before in any other American student movement, spontaneous demonstrations erupted daily throughout southern California and subsequently in various regions of the country. Before long, Californian students built a student organization they called the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights . 13

Juan José Gutiérrez, a long-standing Hispanic leader and member of the Coordination of the Latino Movement USA, wrote in the newspaper La Opinión,on March 24: “the most important aspect of this demonstration was the presence of undocumented workers as the main protagonists of their own destiny.” Indeed, what is remarkable and momentous about the spring marches is that undocumented immigrants were the main actors in a self-defense movement in which its most visible leaders were not undocumented, but in which the street mass, the challenge of racism and the political conservatism of the American right was their work. The harshness of the Sensenbrenner bill, which denied any possibility of legal integration into American society, galvanized the previously amorphous mass of undocumented immigrants.

The movement’s ability to call, constancy and geographic extension surprised both external observers and their own promoters. No one imagined that undocumented immigrants were going to leave the shadows and convince themselves that their enormous numerical presence in labor structures could become a powerful social and ethical force, and that the defenselessness of their illegality was the main resource for the legitimacy of their movement. Nor did anyone expect that undocumented immigrants, in addition to articulating other social movements, could become the spearhead of a new movement for civil rights at the dawn of the digital and global era.

They accompanied the undocumented, first of all, immigrants with legal residence and citizens of Hispanic origin. Secondly, immigrants from Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as activists and supporters of other social movements in the United States. A survey of Latino citizens, including registered voters and citizens who have not yet registered, revealed that at least 15% of Latino citizens participated in a march or someone from their family did. Amen to Latino citizens who did so out of group or ethnic solidarity, or because they are family, friends or fellow students or work of undocumented immigrants. Matt Barreto, Political Science researcher at the University of Washington, quoted in the newspaper La Opinión by the journalist Pilar Marrero14 indicates that in the United States there are 9 or 10 million Hispanics registered to vote, and if 15% of them participated in any mobilization, it means that up to 1.5 million citizens would have been involved in some way in the activities of the movement of all the country. Over 70% of Latino immigrants interviewed by El Pulso Latino,from the firm García Research Associates, affirmed that they were going to support the call to the great Latino unemployment not attending their jobs, buying anything and not sending their children to school. The survey was conducted by telephone in the cities of Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Houston and Miami, and 761 people were interviewed. In Chicago, 71% of people said they would not go to work and 95% replied that they would buy nothing. It was the youngest, the youngest immigrants in the country and those with the lowest income who most strongly supported the boycott of May 1. Another significant characteristic of the immigrant movement is that entire families participate in the marches, because the fate of thousands of them depends on their legal situation. Some immigrant families have members with legal residence, some are citizens and others are undocumented.

The movement combined family, school, neighborhood, religious, business, union, sports, recreational and media structures where immigrants predominate. It is because of the complexity of this fabric that the movement was not classist in the strict sense, despite the fact that the vast majority of undocumented immigrants are salaried workers. The movement was articulated with and received the support of important business sectors, such as agriculture, restaurant, meat packers and the media, urged on by the immigrant workforce and the importance of its market. During the great demonstration and national boycott of May 1, numerous companies allowed workers to leave their employment centers. At the same time, the boycott won the support of small business owners and even some large corporations. Tyson Foods, the largest meat producer, closed nine of its 15 beef and pork processing plants across the United States. Perdue Farms closed six of 14 plants. Goya Foods suspended deliveries of its products in every state except Florida, with 300 trucks that did not leave. Goya representative Olga Luz told the Associated Press on May 1 that the company wanted to “express solidarity with immigrants. Business owners supported the boycott for different reasons: some supported immigration reform for” guest workers “, proposed by President Bush or some version that granted citizenship, as a way to regularize the exploitation of this workforce.

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