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18th Annual Peace & Unity March in Watsonville
Bradley Stuart and Heather R. Putnam
Article by Heather R. Putnam; photos by Bradley Stuart

On Saturday, October 29, the 18th Annual Peace & Unity March was held in Watsonville, California. The march was organized by the Autonomous Chapter of the Watsonville Brown Berets in collaboration with White Hawk Danza Azteca to honor victims of gang-related violence in Watsonville and to push for an end to the violence in the community. The opening ceremony at Watsonville Plaza began with a blessing song performed by local drummers. Following that, Sandino Gómez, historian for the Watsonville Brown Berets, recounted how the march began in 1994 to honor Jessica and Jorge Cortéz, 16 and 9 years old, who were gunned down execution-style because they had witnessed a gang–related crime. Gómez emphasized that “violence is not the solution” and that everyone present “must be part of the solution”. A representative of the mothers of victims, Rose de Ramirez, who lost her son to gang-related violence sixteen years ago, emphasized, “We need support from the community to stop violence”.

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