Friday morning, Junior and Junior's little brother came by with their mom. They were going to La Marcha and they asked me to go with. I asked their buddy, who was helping me weed my sunflowers, if he wanted to go, but he said no. So I sent him home and went off with them.
La Marcha, in case you haven't heard, was a joint effort of the two big FM Spanish-language stations here to protest the founding of a Minuteman chapter in Chicago. In case you missed the Minuteman mania in Arizona back in April, here's what LA Weekly had to say about it: http://www.laweekly.com/ink/05/20/news-cooper.php
So, in short, the overhyped story of gun-toting vigilantes "securing the border" comes home to roost, with a group cofounded by a white suburban guy and a second generation Mexican-American woman. She's the one Hoy (the Tribune's Spanish newspaper) picked up to interview, and the interview so incensed two local radio DJs, El Chokolate and El Pistolero, that they put together a pro-immigrant, pro-immigration reform, pro-naturalization rally more or less in my hood. If you can read Spanish or you just wonder what El Chokolate himself looks like: http://www.radionotas.com/newdev/articledetails.asp?artid=6458
So I found out about it at church and then tried to read a piece about it in Hoy. I was planning to go Friday morning until my weeding buddy arrived and said he wasn't interested. But when my neighbors showed up and wanted me to go with them, I sent him home and we took off.
Highlights from the march: Tons of people! Organizers were hoping for 15,000 and maybe they got it. I'd put it at 10K at least based on some big anti-war marches I've been to in the past.
The sign I remember best was created by my teenage girl friend of the Nearly Evicted family: "The immigration judge said it won't hurt me if my dad is deported. :-( How is *that* possible?"
My rally Spanish served pretty well: "El pueblo unido jamas sera vencino" and "si se puede" were shouted full force. People sang the Mexican national anthem. I saw a number of folks from St. Joseph's and from Holy Cross/IHM. Some guy started his own cheer, "Give me a J... Give me an O..." Jose thought he was funny.
The march ended in the Swap-O-Rama parking lot near 43rd, where speakers blasted music and the words of everyone from radio stars to little kids whose parents may yet be deported. The icie vendors were making a killing. Somewhere along the way in the midst of the march, someone actually had their chip/ice cream stand set up in the thick of the crowd. They got business, too.
I still have yet to see a news article with a guess at the crowd in it. And I'm not holding my breath for an English-language story that explains the purpose of the march in any detail. The Chicago Tribune's Saturday paper carried a small photo in the lower right-hand corner of the metro page, which on Saturday doesn't even get a section to itself. I don't know if the Sun-Times even carried anything. Hoy's weekend edition is mostly wire services and is clearly prepared in advance. The Trib carried a decent enough story last week about the Minuteman dustup and the radio stations--one of the DJs had her on the radio and debated her.
In a way, it's nice to know El Pistolero and El Chokolate aren't any better than scraggly anti-war protestors at grabbing the English-language dailies' ear in this town.
Update: At least one March organizer said 50,000 turned out. I never heard a police estimate. Usually I split the difference between the organizers and the cops and figure that's accurate--usually they're pretty far apart. But it's a good bet they really got their 15,000 and probably more.
Plus, I forgot my favorite cheer from that day: "Bush! Eschuca! Estamos en la lucha!" (Bush! Listen! We are in the struggle!) The thing that was hilarious to me was I couldn't figure out what they were saying at first because they were pronouncing Bush with a long u "Boosh-eschuca!" and I could not for the life of me figure it out. Another day I'll have to write a post about the joys of trying to learn Spanish....
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