|Gage Park Students Attend Immigration March in Washington
by Student Advisory Council Members Ronney Perez and Jason Lee
The March for Immigration Reform in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2010 was attended by nine Gage Park students; Jason Lee, Jasmine Lee, Ronney Perez, Dwight Davis, Yaridelia Arteaga, Maria Perez, Yeseni Pina, Jorge Urbina, Jasmine Serrano, and their teacher Andrew Martinek.
The march on Washington D.C. was a great experience to all off us who were lucky enough to attend this memorable event. We were able to attend this march because of the club which we have attended. The club’s name is the Pre-law/Youth Summit club. This club focuses on educating us and our community about current issues that affect youth. We were able to raise funds for the trip by running an evening school snack bar. Students also asked for donations from teachers to attend the trip to D.C.
We went with a local organization called S.W.O.P., the Southwest Organizing Project. They were a huge help. S.W.O.P. gave us more information about the immigration reform and how it would help everyone. Since we were informed about these issues, all of the students were eager to attend the Washington D.C march to make a difference.
On Saturday, March 20, 2010 we left from St. Nicholas church at 5:00 p.m. When we were about to arrive at Washington D.C., not only was everyone happy and exited because we were all were going to become a part of American history, but the drive was about 13 hours and we got there at around 7 in the morning. There were a lot of different people and organizations in Lafayette Square, across from the White House, chanting what they wanted from Obama with their signs. Here we heard from Jesse Jackson and other well known activists. Then we started to march from the White House to the National Mall. When we arrived at the Lafayette Square, some people gave their testimony about what happens when family members get deported back to their original countries and the struggles they have to overcome to continue to survive and feed their children. The speeches they gave certainly opened everyone’s eyes and the reality of the devastation deportation causes to all immigrant families. When all the great speeches were given, over a hundred thousand people started to march to the National Mall for one cause: to be heard about the immigration reform. As we all gathered at the National Mall people from all different countries came to be heard as one voice. Luis Gutierrez, our Congressman from Chicago gave a great speech about the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform. Mrs. Marrufo, a Gage Park parent, also gave a great testimonial to the crowd. President Obama addressed the crowd via video and pledged to address immigration reform this year. When Obama finished the speech I believe that most of the people were confident that they had gotten President Obama’s attention. We believe that everyone who attended this once-in-a-lifetime experience would say that driving 26 hours to Washington and back was all worth it.
We also took this opportunity to visit some other nearby historic landmarks. Some students walked to the Capitol Building to witness other protests about health care reform. Then another group of students walked to the Lincoln Memorial and stood where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Everyone had the opportunity to speak to people from all over the country with all kinds of ideas.
This is what nine students and their teacher, Mr. Martinek, experienced during the march to Washington D.C. When we left Washington, D.C, every single one of us held our heads high because we knew that every single one of us made a difference and succeeded in getting President Obama’s attention and a commitment to action.
We hope that all of you will also join us in this cause. To get involved in this growing movement, you can attend a Youth Summit meeting, every Thursday in room 991 immediately after your last class. For other events, please check out the Pre-Law/Youth Summit club pages at www.gageparkhs.org.