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LOCAL News :: Civil & Human Rights

March Literally Takes Streets Back

On Sunday, the 12th Annual Peace and Unity March,
sponsered by the Brown Berets, quite literally tookover certain streets in Watsonville.
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Tomas Alejo addresses Brown Berets and their proponents during the rally

Starting from Watsonville plaza, a festive, steady and peaceful procession of Brown Berets and their proponents marched through downtown Watsonville and its outlaying areas with messages of collective agency and solidarity. This was all part of Sunday's 12th annual Peace and Unity March founded by the Brown Berets of Watsonville to spark efforts to wage peace within the local community.

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One of many shirts memorializing those who have passed because of violence

In 1994, after the senseless murders of local children Jessica (age 9) and George (age 16)as they were buying bread for their parents, Watsonville youths decided to resurrect the proud legacy of the Brown Berets and create a local chapter to combat the increasingly rampant violence and disharmony in the community. The Peace and Unity March is merely one vessel for which the Brown Berets spread their progressive messages of solidarity, of cultural awareness, and
of mourning over loved ones.
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the group Whitehawk enthralls the crowd with their folk dancing

01 Track 01.mp3 (3251 k)

02 Track 02.mp3 (1613 k)
councilmember Madrigal adresses the audience

This year's march started in Watsonville plaza where speaker's addresed particapants and spectators about the purpose and history of the march and its sponsering group. Long time Brown Berets such as Tomas Alejo and teenager Megan Rodriguez (recipient of National Leader of Today Award)as well as Santa Cruz city council member Tony Madrigal were among the speakers who spoke about the importance. Because it is important to remember our roots, Mexican folk dancing by Whitehawk was introduced and the dancers led the procession of activists and participants through the streets of Watsonville.

city councilmember Madrigal encourages the marchers

03 Track 03.mp3 (568 k)
taking back the streets

Sandwiched by a police convoy, the festive and steady procession marched on city streets with stopped cars and onlookers viewed this spectacle. The signs of the marchers varied in content, but they mostly focused on the call to strenghthen solidarity, decrease violence (one isthrough military withdrawl, and signs/pictures of family and friends who's lives were put to their ends because of violence. The marchers were spurned on by Brown Beret members, Tony Madrigal, and underlying yearning for peace and justice.

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these young onlookers have their eyes afixed to the large crowd of peaceful marchers passing their house

Many came out to the sidewalk to witness the procession, and as they did, Brown Beret members approached these community and passed out leaflets for their organization. After many streets and neighborhoods traveled, the march ended at Watsonville plaza. The day was indeed bittersweet, for while we remembered the tragic curtailing of young lives lost, we witnessed the uniting of individuals for the cause of peace and a stronger community. The Brown Berets exist for this reason and are always looking for eager souls ready to make a change and see them through. They meet every Thursday at 7 pm at 06 Main Street and Beach Suite# 408b in Watsonville.

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Re: March Literally Takes Streets Back

Why is it "taking back the streets" when groups favored by the left do it, but "taking over the streets" when anyone else does the exact same thing?


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