Susie Aguirre and Justan Torres on the the corner of Osborne Street and San Fernando Road Oct. 22, 2014 during a rally in solidarity with those affected by police brutality. Photo by Ana Rosa Murillo/ El Boletín
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Activism is brewing in the northeast San Fernando Valley and it is meant to be in your face and for your benefit. This weekend in Pacoima there will be a Coming out of the Shadows event on Saturday and a Cop Watch workshop on Sunday.
On Saturday, March 21 look out for the annual Coming Out of the Shadows, an event started five years ago in Chicago that encourages undocumented youth to publicly declare themselves “undocumented and unafraid.” Since then, immigration activists have manifested similar events every year throughout major regions in the country, including the San Fernando Valley.
This year’s event, however, is being organized by three organizations- the San Fernando Valley Dream Team, the San Fernando Valley Immigrant Youth Coalition, and Somos Familia Valle– making it a collaboration not exclusively for undocumented folks. So instead of focusing only on undocumented youth, this rally will feature a broader spectrum of issues, such as parents who do not qualify for any of the recent immigration programs, a daughter who speaks about her father’s current deportation process, and the experience of a Latina mother with gay son.
“What we want to do is continue building a civil rights movement where we not only talk about a population in particular,” says Ronnie Veliz, director and civil rights organizer for Somos Familia Valle, a grassroots organization whose efforts try to unite overlooked communities in activist circles.
The rally will begin at noon on one of Pacoima’s busiest intersections, Van Nuys and Laurel Canyon Boulevard, and will march over to Ritchie Valens Park.
The following day, Sunday, March 22, El Hormiguero is hosting Cop Watch Workshop & Know Your Rights Training at the Pacoima Community Center. The workshop will focus on how civilians can monitor police activity and reaffirm the rights when confronted by them.
“Observing and documenting police activity on the streets is a way to prevent police harassment and misconduct as well as reclaim the power to protect our own communities,” the group posted on the Facebook event page. “This training will go over these and other strategies we can use to protect ourselves and neighborhoods.”
The workshop starts at 3pm and will be conducted in English and Spanish.
Pacoima, what do you think about these events?