Presentation at Latino and Latina Roundtable and NAACP Celebration and Opening of Solidarity Center



 It is so exciting to have all of you here today in advancing our common efforts in bridge-building, coalition-building, and creating collective spaces – such as the one we are experiencing today – to advance spaces and places that are examples of the kind of just and equal world that we want to live in. 

Every one of you here deserves a big applause for creating that type of social change advancement in Pomona – Please give yourself a big applause.  It was not that long ag- December 5th, 2014 when the Latino and Latina Roundtable and the NAACP Pomona Valley Branch walked together, chanted together, and raised our voices in a Pomona Peace Walk of over 200 diverse participants – that made their way from city hall to the Village area on East Holt Avenue where we showed the film “Cesar’s Last Fast.”   This was a real beginning of our crossing bridges – and indeed we crossed bridges that day in sharing our solidarity with a 120-mile, seven day march from Ferguson, Missouri to Jefferson City in support of Michael Brown.  Some of the marchers of all nationalities crossed borders that day in carrying pictures of 43 Ayotzinapa students from Mexico (whose forced disappearance is still being protested today).  Since that time, we have not stopped in collaborating – building bridges  from  forums and actions to get at the structural foundations of violence – to other marches such as a a Cesar Chavez Pilgrimage with the primary themes “Black Lives Matter” and “Remember Ayotzinapa;” – together in carrying out voting rights forums, ballot initiative forums, candidate’s forums, – and voter registration – voter turn-out campaigns – in the streets of Pomona and the region; to supporting our union brothers and sisters – farmworkers in Salinas, dining hall workers at Pomona College, UFCW workers and warehouse workers, nurses and service workers and health for all —  to a “Journey for Justice” Rally at Pomona city hall in honor of an exemplary leader that we all remember and support —  Julian Bond; to a  march of 1500 students at the Claremont Colleges (where Jeannete and I were the keynote speakers) – as part of national demonstrations protesting a growing campus climate of exclusion and calling for our working together, as we are doing today, to root out the seeds of racial, class, gender, and sexual oppression.  We have been there together, brothers and sisters, in supporting our immigrant and refugee communities – together in No Ban No Walls Rallies in LaVerne in Claremont, and at the Ontario airport – Together, brothers and sisters in — Passing a Pomona Unified School District school board a resolution “Regarding the Board’s Commitment to Ensure All District Campuses are Safe Zones and Safe Havens”; Together in coalition-building to Pass an ordinance with  the  Pomona City Council to implement the California Values Act, SB 54;   Together – in continuing to partner as Part of a College for All statewide coalition to endorse and actively implement California State Senate Bill 1050 to create a kindergarten-to-college pipeline of educational opportunity and success for our underrepresented students – particularly those from low income, English language learner, and foster youth backgrounds.   Together – in supporting local businesses, schools, colleges, and unions to advance a local economy that invests in the health and well-being of our communities.

And finally, together today – to be together in this sacred space right here – in collaborating to build a visionary and united leadership of all generations and of all backgrounds to advance positive outcomes  for good jobs, health care, education, and quality of life.  That is why we are here today – in Solidarity  -together —  to celebrate how far we have traveled down this justice road – and to make a commitment today to keep on a walking, keep on a talking – walking down this freedom road.  


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