Santa Paula rally United Against Hate vows peace and resistance

January 25, 2017
Santa Paula News

Dozens of Santa Paulans gathered at a United Against Hate rally Friday evening at the Farmworkers Monument.

The January 20 event, sponsored by CAUSE and Santa Paula Women of Faith, drew about 30 people who stood in the cold evening air holding faux candles. Those gathered heard words of peace but strong resistance to the proposed policies of the newly elected President Donald Trump.

“Despite political differences,” said Maxine McKaig of Santa Paula, “this is the time to come together with hope,” for the future of the nation.

“I’m here to stand up for what’s right,” said Sue Yamamoto of Santa Paula. 

Diana Martinez of Santa Paula held a sign that stated: “Don’t Agonize, Organize.”

The Rev. Maddie Sifantus of the Universalist Unitarian Church and the Rev. Michelle Magee of First United Methodist Church led prayers for the program.

“It’s an important day, it’s a sad day, a day of resistance even more than ever,” against the hate that Aracely Preciado of CAUSE told the crowd was created during the election that caused fear in so many.  

“Here we come in unity for peace to show we are going to fight, stand up for the communities,” and offer protection to all.

“This is what the community is about,” said Lorenzo Moraza, president of Latino Town Hall.

He noted the 20-year-old nonprofit was formed as an advocacy organization “for the most vulnerable” and the recent turn of events makes it “look like now we have to recharge and reenergize!”

Moraza said LTH, as well as CAUSE and other groups will be staging a Town Hall meeting in the near future to address the issues and “threats” — ranging from the potential loss of health insurance to changes in education — affecting the community.

Representatives of other advocacy groups, such as Poder Popular de Santa Paula, also made statements on how the recent campaign and election has caused worry in families, at work and in the community.

Tobin Fincher, a 17-year-old Santa Paula High School student told the gathering that “Even by standing in the freezing cold in a circle in Santa Paula,” is a strong symbol of being available to help others.

Each attendee was asked to place their candle on a table and offer a word or a simple sentence to convey their feelings and comments ranging from bringing peace to offering peaceful resistance.

“I know ‘we shall overcome’,” said Sifantus after she led the singing of the famed protest song.

“This is just the beginning of a long fight,” said Preciado. “But we’ll fight with love and not give up our rights…”

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