Skip to comments.Organizers pleased with result of boycott, plan more
Posted on 12/17/2003 9:09:07 AM PST by yonif
The historic Great Latino Economic Boycott in California surpassed the expectations of its organizers and the effects of this wake-up call by Latinos transcended into Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Illinois. The boycott was described as successful "in spite of the fact that we didn't organize things very well," said Miguel Araujo from the Centro Azteca de Información (Information Aztec Center) -- who in conjuction with Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana (Latin-American Mexican Brotherhood) headed the boycott -- and he warned,
"We are going to keep organizing people and if the government doesn't understand the language of composure, of negotiation and of the unity of all Californians, then we will have to resort to our friends and allies and we will call for a general strike."
Last Friday thousands of school desks were empty, thousands of employees didn't go to work, hundreds of Latino-owned businesses closed their doors in support and thousands of people in many communities took to the streets and manifested their support of the boycott.
The response by Latinos to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's repeal of measure SB60, which was signed into law by former Gov. Gray Davis, impacted many schools and employers.
"If they don't take us into consideration, we are going to force that the needs of Californians be met by using our labor and economic force to change things," said Araujo.
Leonel Flores of the San Joaquín Valley Coalition for Immigrant Rights said the boycott "caused a great impact. And in the future, if more people participate, I don't even want to imagine what would happen."
Araujo said that if a general strike were to take place, the consequences would be detrimental to California.
"I think that the governor is an intelligent person, that his advisors are also intelligent, and that we will not get to that point. But we are willing to get to that point and it would be disastrous because if loosely organized groups are responding in this way, becoming well organized would generate a better response."
On Sunday, boycott organizers met in Los Angeles and decided to form the Consejo Popular Mexicano (Mexican Council for the People), "which will be in charge of following up on the movement and uphold the wishes of the community," said Araujo.
Well organized and last Friday having demonstrated what could happen, members of the council plan "to start on an aggressive campaign to give Senator (Gil) Cedillo - author of the SB60 bill - a stronger following so that we may obtain the political strength to force the governor to accept the law (to grant driver's licenses) in a more humane way," added Araujo.
The director of the Centro Azteca de Información (whose main offices are in the San Francisco Bay area) regretted that "we had to assume the responsibility of this movement from lack of unified leadership, which has been quite absent in this fight. It's very sad to see the lack of support by the Union de Campesinos (United Farm Workers/UFW). I have spoken with Dolores Huerta, who told me she left the union three years ago and that Arturo has stopped defending the people's rights."
Meanwhile, Nativo López, national director for the Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana and president of the Mexican American Political Association, said, "The people heard the message in defense of their families. It was an historic moment because this was the first time something like this has happened. I think that we were tremendously successful. Our people have woken up and realized their economic power."
Schools were impacted the most throughout the state. For example in Fresno County, in the Coalinga-Huron School District, 45 percent of the students didn't attend school.
The most dramatic case of absenteeism was seen at Huron Elementary, where 64 percent of the students didn't show up for class, according to a statement by Superintendent Patricia Lewis to the Fresno Bee. That, she said, mans a $45,942 loss for the district.
In Orange Cove, Superintendent Juan Garza said that 916 students didn't show up, which means that 45 percent of the student population participated in the boycott.
In Fresno, 10,959 students, which represents 15 percent, didn't go to school, which means a loss of $328,792 for the district. In Visalia the absences reached 5,614, more than 20 percent, and in Farmersville, 30 percent of the students forgot about their educational responsibilities.
The story wasn't any different throughout the rest of the state. In Los Angeles, nearly 29 percent of the students didn't show up to school. In Orange County, one of the communities with most Latinos, 30 percent didn't go to class.
The San Francisco area didn't report any numbers but a spokesperson for the district said that "student absences were quite noticeable."
Businesses in various cities also participated in the boycott. In Fresno, steel curtains covered up apparel windows.
The De Alba family, owners of Joyeria Jalisco (Jalisco Jewelry) and De Alba Travel, closed their businesses in Fresno, Chowchilla, Kerman, Porterville, Delano and Bakersfield.
"It's a good cause," said Raúl de Alba, one of the owners. "They need to hear us. We come from México and we work in the fields."
Ramón de Alba, owner of the Los Panchos Restaurant in the Fulton Mall, said, "This was just a dress rehearsal and it turned out great. I don't even want to imagine when this might be done at a greater scale."
Polo Chávez, from the Comité Pro Uno (Pro One Committee), who was one of the speakers at the Fulton Mall before nearly 300 people marched through the streets of downtown, said, "This country suffers from amnesia. Those who oppose this (granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants) don't know history," making reference to how this country is made up of immigrants.
"We are sick and tired of being blamed for problems we do not cause," referring to arguments about terrorism being linked to immigrants. "This boycott," he predicted, "will have repercussions in our future."
Lets give a hand to the Latinos for helping out the state goverment in it's time of need.
Boycot the hospital
Boycot the department of motor vehicles
Boycot the welfare and sociol security office
Boycot the voting booth
Boycot the unemployment benefit line
Keep your drugs, crime, pollution, disease, language, taco stands, graffiti, and cardboard culture all back in Mexico where they belong.
What part of illegal....oh wait, they don't care. I suppose he is a legal resident all the money he earns is reported correctly to the IRS and that all his taxes are paid and that no money goes back to Mexico so that he spends it all on the local U.S. economy. Once that happens, I may lend a sympathetic ear.
I loved it! The traffic jams were cut in half. It was wonderful :-D They should do this EVERY friday!
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