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Los Angeles Students Walk Out in Immigration Reform Protests

by Pamela Leavey

Across Los Angeles today, students from LAUSD high schools walked out in protest of the immigration reform that “proposed criminal penalties for residents found to be in this country illegally.” Students from “as many as 21 campuses took part in the protest,” with approximately 20,000 students or more participating.

My daughter who attends an LAUSD San Fernando Valley high school called me this morning at about 9:00 am, to tell me she was walking out. She joined with other students from her school who marched down sidewalks and streets with police escort to the Van Nuys Courthouse area where some 1000 students from at least 6 or 7 San Fernando Valley high schools rallied for 3 – 4 hours.

I watched with great pride today, as the students from my daughter’s high school and other San Fernando Valley area schools expressed their patriotic right to freedom of speech and dissent. When asked by a reporter from the L.A. Daily News why she was there today, my daughter said that she “felt strongly about supporting her fellow students who’s families and futures would be affected by the immigration reforms.”

State Senator Richard Alarcón came out and spoke with the students, who at all times were peacefully protesting the immigration bills that could change their future drastically and dramatically.

In downtown Los Angeles students rallied at City Hall and marched through streets and on busy downtown freeways in a dangerous and bold move to show their dissent. Outside of City Hall, the students cheered loudly as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa came out “after speaking with six students selected by protest organizers. ”

You’ve come today, you registered your commitment to your families, your opposition to the Sensenbrenner legislation, but it’s time to go back to school,” Villaraigosa said. “But in your schools, I want you to work to educate the other students about why it’s so important for us right now.”

Today’s walkout marked the second walk out by Los Angeles area students in the past few days, the first walk out was on Friday. Over the past few days there have been rallies across the nation, with the largest rally in Los Angeles on Saturday.

LAUSD provided buses for students to return to schools from the various protest areas. I am told by an administrator at my daughter’s school that there was to be no disciplinary action taken against the students who walked out.

LAUSD school board member David Tokofsky said, “There’s always a tender balance between the learning that happens in text books and the learning that happens from experience, especially with government issues,” as he watched the students gathered at City Hall.

I know that the children are very concerned about their parents and grandparents and how this law might affect them, but I would much rather have the kids sitting in a classroom, reading about how a bill becomes a law.”

UPDATE: CNN mis-reports the amount of schools and students that participated in today’s walk outs at Los Angeles area schools:

On Monday, California’s Cesar Chavez Day, at least 8,500 students marched out of eight Los Angeles-area schools, including the San Fernando Valley and the wealthy coastal enclave of Pacific Palisades, said Monica Carazo, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles school district.

UPDATE 2: Michelle Malkin wrongly assumes that ALL students who walked out of school today in Los Angeles were “illegal aliens” and she complains about the fact that LAUSD went the extra mile to supervise the students (from all walks of life) on their very significant day of protest.

5 Responses to “Los Angeles Students Walk Out in Immigration Reform Protests”

  1. Just so everyone knows, I’ve talked to other students who did not attend, and they are very proud of what we did today. On my way to the courthouse, I had people asking me why I was walking when I was white. My answer simply was that the color of my skin didn’t matter. What mattered was that I was there supporting their cause, their first ammendment right, and more importantly my friends.

    Plus- it was really fun and cool to have the police escorts, and get treated nicely by the police.

  2. March 27, 2006

    In Grand Rapids today, 4-5,000 people marched in favor of immigrant rights and against legislation that would criminalize undocumented workers. Their signs read “We are ALL Immigrants,” “We do the Work,” and “We are not Terrorists.”


    Not bad for a right wingnut Bible-belt area. (Not quite fair as their social awareness is sometimes surprising)

  3. Battlebob

    That’s wonderful to hear! It was great to be out there with my daughter and the high school kids today. People are really coming together on this. And it appears a lot went down in the Senate Judiciary Committee, I’m just getting caught up posting some press releases and news.

  4. My husband and I live a moderately successful life with three beautifully golden brown skinned daughters. We are mexican/argentinian/american. We pay our taxes and are here legally. However, without my grandparents coming illegally from mexico… where would we be? How would I have sent my daughter to school? How could I have been given the opportunities given to others with lighter skin?

  5. Evie Marie

    Thank you for sharing your story here. We’re all immigrants in my opinion, my parents ancestors came from Ireland and France.