By Khai Le
By Khai Le
If one were to walk down the streets of University Avenue on May 1, one would have heard the beats of drums and the yells of a crowd throughout the air.
That afternoon, starting at 3 p.m., students and supporters throughout Riverside marched together in support of immigration rights.
Held in conjunction with International Workers Day, marchers wore white to symbolize peace.
Organized by the students of UC Riverside, the march led from the UCR campus to city hall.
The march, in its second year, deals with the current immigration debate throughout America.
Last year, various immigration bills sparked large protests throughout the country, bringing upwards of several hundred thousand people to cities.
The controversial House of Representatives bill 4437 sparked the majority of protest.
The bill called for such initiatives as 700 miles of fence across the US-Mexican border and prohibiting aid to undocumented people.
The crowds in Riverside were smaller this year, attracting about 300 people. Nevertheless, marchers were just as passionate about what they were walking for. Throughout the march, calls were made for immigrants to be viewed and treated as equals, as well as signs calling for immigration reform and rights for immigrants.
Upon arriving at city hall, speakers came to the makeshift stage by the Martin Luther King statue. Gilberto Esquivel, one of the first to speak, said regarding all the talk about immigrants that, in the end, “We’re talking about human beings.”
Diana Flores, one of the march organizers and chairwoman of the UCR chapter of MEChA said that “Everyone deserves human rights and protection; and that “The people need representation”. Another UCR student, Ivan Ninichuck summed up the march saying that “We need to say today that tomorrow will be different”.
The overall march was peaceful, unlike the Los Angeles marches the same day.
Riverside police followed the marchers to city hall and stood by, but did not interfere.
For some, the long walk back up University Avenue began again at least until next year, when the sounds of drums will be heard again.