Los Altos students and teachers chanted and paraded signs as they marched from campus to Eagle Park in Tuesday’s protest of changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.
President Donald Trump’s order to end DACA, issued in early September, puts DACA recipients — including students and staff at Los Altos — at risk of deportation. Teachers In Solidarity, Black Student Union, Latino Student Union, Social Injustice Club and Haiti Solidarity Club organized the march to demonstrate support for DACA recipients and immigrant families who are being put at risk.
“[We want] our students to know they’re supported and we love them and we care about them,” Teachers In Solidarity member and P.E. teacher Kiernan Raffo said. “Immigrants are what makes this country what it is and this school what it is. DACA is something that Obama put in place to help our kids feel safe, and to take it away is a crime.”
Before the march, Haiti Solidarity Club adviser and history teacher Seth Donnelly addressed the crowd that gathered in the school quad, explaining his view of solidarity.
“Everybody is somebody, and we [need to] take that into our hearts and recognize that an injury to one is truly an injury to all,” Donnelly said to the protesters. “Our country, our world, is in crisis, [and] we should constantly be coming together and building this circle.”
The one-and-a-half-mile march to Eagle Park proceeded smoothly, with police directing students through traffic. Students and teachers repeated pro-education chants and “power to the people” slogans, receiving multiple honks of approval from passing cars.
Teachers In Solidarity member and history teacher Sarah Carlson hoped immigrants would realize that the local community and school stand in unity behind affected students to fight for their rights.
“I’m participating to support my students,” Carlson said. “My undocumented students are some of the most incredible students ever. They deserve to be [here]. They deserve to have an education.”
At the park, event leaders spoke to marchers about their own experiences as immigrants and their opinions on equality. Many speakers, including Social Injustice Club President sophomore Jacky Ramirez, mentioned the numerous opportunities DACA had given them and criticized Trump’s decision.
“My parents walked a long, long desert to get me here, to get me an education, to get me fed and to live a stable life,” Jacky said. “The way we are painted by our government is something I will not stand for. I will not stand for any negativity against people of different cultures, people of different beliefs [or] people of different sexual orientations.”
In his speech, Teachers In Solidarity member and English teacher Jonathan Kwan asked listeners to consider the future direction of society under the current government.
“What kind of world do we want [our] children to inherit?” Kwan said. “Not only are our immigrant communities under attack, but our core values of diversity, empathy and compassion are also under siege.”
Kwan emphasized the need for everyone to take action.
“To witness this erosion of human decency and dignity, we must speak out,” Kwan said. “We need your support, we need your advocacy. This is not a brown issue, a black issue or an immigrant issue — this is an American issue.”
Correction September 28, 2017: An earlier version of this article misspelled Social Injustice Club President sophomore Jacky Ramirez’ name.