People in Livingston took to the streets Sunday to honor Cesar Chavez and support farm workers, immigrants and Dreamers around the Central Valley and state.
More than 100 people chanted and waved United Farm Workers of America flags or flags from Latin America, like Mexico and El Salvador (many of the workers have Latino backgrounds). They marched from St. Jude's Church on Franci Street to Livingston Memorial Park on Main Street.
Signs were held up that said: “ICE out of California,” “We feed you!” and “Vivan los trabajadores” (live the workers).
“We need to stop what Trump is doing” when it comes to immigration laws," Erika Navarrete, vice president for UFW said in Spanish. Immigration reform is needed, she said, so those who are undocumented have a path to citizenship and DACA recipients can continue to pursue their education.
“Here we are united and we will keep fighting,” Navarrete added. “We won't’ stop until there is justice.”
Like many others, Supervisor Rodrigo Espinoza was brought to the United States from Mexico as a child. Espinoza told the crowd in Spanish after the march he ran for office “to support our people."
“If I came here from Mexico with nothing and did something” then we can all do something, he said. “We're fighting to help you.”
Livingston resident Olga Sicairos said she marched because there have been too many reports of families being broken up as a result of Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids.
Five people in Atwater were picked up by ICE in February, following various deportation sweeps across California, where as many as 150 people were detained. Local advocates rallied together calling on elected officials, law enforcement and allies in Merced County to unite against deportation efforts.
In May 2017, Livingston became the first official sanctuary city in the San Joaquin Valley and is the only one in Merced County. Under the policy, city officials, including law enforcement officers, won’t work with federal agencies to enforce immigration laws or partner with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Monica Velez: 209-385-2486, @monicavelez21