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Indybay Feature
Tue Nov 12 2013 (Updated 11/27/13)
Dia de los Muertos and Speaking out Against Violence at the Peace and Unity March
Tue Nov 12 2013 (Updated 11/27/13)
For First Time in Years, Peace and Unity March Makes Way Through Pajaro
On November 2, Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, more than 150 people participated in the annual Peace and Unity March in Watsonville to commemorate the lives of community members who have been killed since 1994. That year, Watsonville youth organized the first Peace and Unity March to address ongoing violence in the community, particularly after the slaying of 9 year-old Jessica Cortez and her 16 year-old brother, Jorge Cortez.

The Peace and Unity Coalition includes local youth, community groups and families who have lost loved ones to violence. The Coalition says the march provides "a safe space for families of victims and our local community to come together to organize an event to speak out against violence in the streets of South Santa Cruz County." For the first time in many years, demonstrators crossed over the Pajaro River and marched through Pajaro, the small and oft-forgotten community which is part of Monterey County. The march was led by Yaocuauhtli Danza Cultural, Aztec dancers from Salinas, and backed by the Warrior Circle from Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos.

Sep Susunaga, one of the march organizers, states "I think the Peace and Unity March is crucial in ensuring that we remain aware of the violence happening around us ... this serves as motivation for community members to come together and help shape a safer environment and come up with ways to prevent violence."

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Previous coverage of the Peace and Unity March:
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