He was only 6 years old when he went with his parents to the march against Prop. 187; since childhood he knew about the anti-immigrant measures but sought a change

The effects of California Proposition 187 penetrated deep into the mind and heart of Christian Arana, who was barely 6 years old when his father took him to the protest march in October 1994 – a month before voters approved the law of former Governor Pete Wilson.

For that 6-year-old boy, the question was simple: How could a government deny a human being the right to education or medical care just because they didn't have the proper documentation to live in this country?

“For me, (Prop.) 187 was one of the most anti-immigrant and anti-Latin things I've seen; my parents were undocumented, ”he said.

That type of exclusionary language infuriated him and motivated him to participate in the march of 100,000 people in October 1994 that filled downtown Los Angeles.

"As I saw it, immigrants were not" aliens. " They were my parents from Guatemala and people from my neighborhood in Van Nuys, ”he added.

Christian was in first grade at Sherman Oaks Chandler Elementary School.

Without imagining it, those moments forever changed the way they understood the concept of justice.

Arana shares with other young people what his family lived when he was little.

Start in activism

A quarter of a century after that event, Christian – now 31 years old – is a policy director at the Latino Community Foundation, based in San Francisco.

His parents, originally from Guatemala, worked hard to move the

His father was a dealer of automotive parts in the San Fernando Valley and also delivered pizza on the weekend. His mother cleaned houses of rich people in Westwood and Hollywood; Now he works in a call center.

"After that march, my dad always told me:‘ Never give up, "he recalled. "My parents are immigrants from Guatemala and there was a governor who didn't like immigrant families."

As Latinos and immigrants, it was time to fight against the legislative measure.

Over the years he realized the need to fight against legislative proposals that affect the future of the Latino community.

"If we don't protect ourselves, nobody is going to do it," said the young activist. "Otherwise, we will have problems."

Christian wanted to know who and how decisions were made in politics since he was at Millikan Middle School.

Later, at Van Nuys High School, he joined a Chicano Student Movement club in Aztlán (MECHA), where he learned Latin culture and the history of Latinos in California and the rest of the country.

“When I went to Georgetown University to study politics we were talking about the George W. Bush Immigration Reform; he wanted to do something but nothing happened with politics, ”he said.

"In 2010 the Dreamers came to Washington to talk about their lives because they didn't want to be deported."

Christian recalls that he thought former Governor Wilson needed to deny “illegal aliens” access to education and medical services so that California could recover from the economic downturn.

The activist says that the power is in a united community.

Vote to protect migrants

He states that in politics, one “adventure” leads to another and, at present, his job is to defend immigrants and ensure that new generations of Latino voters exercise their right to vote, mainly in the presidential elections next year.

"We don't want attacks against immigrants to happen again in 2020," he said. “The next election is a great opportunity to change our lives and our

Christian pointed out that the times of Proposition 187 are similar to what is currently being experienced with Donald Trump, who failed in his attempt to include the citizenship question in the 2020 Census and through the Latino Community Foundation joined the repudiation of the executive order .

Also, he warned that on November 12, the United States Supreme Court will rule the fate of the DACA program that protects thousands of “dreamer” students from deportation who were brought to the United States as children. Of the 787,550 Dreamers, California has the highest number with 202,000.

"Those of us who can vote have to protect them because there is power in the unit, whether for or against an executive order, a question of citizenship or DACA," said Arana.

“If we don't do it, what would happen to them? These things are the reasons why we fight in this country; my generation lived Proposition 187 and now we have someone (Donald Trump) who doesn't want us to count and we must fight to change things. ”


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