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Related Categories: South Bay | Immigrant Rights
25,000 march in San Jose - one witness account
by nick ((the thing that bikes roll on)revolt(at)fastmail(dot)fm)
Tuesday Apr 11th, 2006 9:13 PM
As marchers filled two lanes of traffic for 15 blocks of Santa Clara Street in downtown San Jose, it was a proud day to be a "Joseano."
I arrived on the scene rather late Monday, only catching the march as it approached the final half-dozen blocks to City Hall, but it was impressive as I rolled down the opposite lanes on my bike: the marchers took a densely-packed (couldn't get a bike through) two lanes of traffic on the Westbound side of Santa Clara Street, extending without a break from 10th Street to 25th Street - 15 blocks of marchers!

Marchers included many families, workers still in uniform from construction trades, office jobs, service jobs, and many students - a very predominantly Latino crowd, though immigrants from many nationalities were represented, from Latin America to Southeast Asia to India and other places.

The street was filled with thousands of U.S. flags (and the occasional Mexican flag) and many signs proclaiming that "we are workers, not criminals" and "don't bite the hand that feeds you!"

Energy was high as the march neared City Hall, with the throngs of marchers spilling into the closed-off blocks near the new buildings and cheering and shouting, "si se puede," in anticipation. At one point after the crowd had filled in the space on Santa Clara Street in front of City Hall (between 4th and 6th...also of course the space on the concrete plaza at City Hall itself), a man stood on two other men's shoulder's to wave a flag - U.S. on one side, Mexican on the other - and lead chants. The man had trouble standing, so three men below formed a stronger base while two more men climbed above to steady the first climber. Eventually, one spirit sought to rise even higher, as another man, to chants of "si se puede," climbed to crouch on the shoulders of all of these - an inspiring 7-person monument to the indomitable immigrant spirit.

On the plaza in front of City Hall, marchers waved flags and banners (one U.S. flag aptly attached to an empty mop handle) as a drum band made its way through, choosing their concrete-enclosed spaces carefully to maximize their ear-busting volume. Onlookers pulsed around the band, pressing close and jumping to the energetic beat as a giant (20 x 40-ft) U.S. flag was passed over the heads of the crowd, many hands guiding it from one direction to the next.

It was an proud day to be a "Joseano."

[if any editors get to making a longer piece for the center column, you have complete permission to edit/change/cut/paste/rearrange this.]
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