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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Students participate in ‘Day Without’ protest, boycott”

    Juan Morano, 36, celebrates A Day Without Immigrants at Armory Park. Hundreds of people showed up to support the national boycott of businesses.

    Juan Morano, 36, celebrates ‘A Day Without Immigrants’ at Armory Park. Hundreds of people showed up to support the national boycott of businesses.

    More than 500 students and community members gathered downtown at Armory Park yesterday to take part in a national boycott of school, work and spending money known as “”A Day Without an Immigrant.””

    “”(The rally was) to show what this country would be like if these people didn’t show up to work, to school, or spend any money at all,”” said UA alumnus Camiliano Juarez. “”They put a lot into the community and take very little out.””

    Juarez said yesterday’s events communicate to the nation that people won’t stand for guest-worker programs because they exploit immigrant workers, and issues of racism within U.S. society must be addressed.

    “”Even when we become citizens, we’re never seen as Americans, we’re always called Latinos,”” Juarez said. “”What is it going to take for us to become Americans?””

    Juarez, 34, attended the events at Armory Park, 220 S. Fifth Ave., with his fiancǸe Montserrat Caballero, 31, who said the recent marches, walkouts, protests and boycotts have been life-affirming for people who face the struggle of racism every day as well as life-changing for those unaware of these issues.

    “”This movement is this generation’s civil-rights movement,”” Caballero said. “”I know I’m going to be telling my grandchildren about it.””

    Events began at Armory Park at 10 a.m. with “”teach-in”” discussions led and organized by high school students as well as music, poetry, film showings and free food so people could eat without spending money, falling in line with the boycott.

    The “”teach-ins”” helped students gain experience in how social movements work, said Zotero Amavizca, a Mexican-American studies graduate student.

    “”They were creating a space where people could share their knowledge and learn in the process of teaching,”” Amavizca said. “”They’re becoming future leaders by teaching the community about the issues and continuing that education so we can produce a real movement for change.””

    While Amavizca attended the events with the UA chapter of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan in support of “”A Day Without an Immigrant,”” three other UA students stood across the street from Armory Park in a counter-protest.

    “”We’re out here because we are being harmed by these illegal immigrants,”” said Zach Fellows, a physiology junior. “”These illegal immigrant kids are going to our schools and slowing our kids down and putting them at a disadvantage.””

    Fellows stood beside his friend Daniel Davidson, a history junior, holding signs saying “”no citizenship, no rights,”” “”go home”” and “”protect our borders.””

    Davidson said he was disappointed that he and his friends were the only counter-protesters and that they were labeled as racists for voicing their opposition.

    “”We’re not racist, we’re not even anti-immigrant,”” Davison said. “”We’re anti-illegal-immigrant.””

    Davidson said all the protestors should go to Mexico and protest their corrupt government rather than make demands of a country that is not their own.

    “”They’re here illegally, and they have no right to demand anything of our government,”” Davidson said. “”All people are equal and they have equal rights, unless you’re here illegally; then you’re not equal and you don’t have equal rights.””

    The UA had no unusual shortage of faculty or staff yesterday, said Johnny Cruz, director of UA media relations.

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