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Jefferson High School Walks Out Again

Today is the second day I've watched the high school students at Jefferson High School walkout. It's hard to miss from my window, with all the gritos of "Viva la Raza!" exhuberance - along with two police cars trailing behind them on the lane of expensive homes on Donaldson Street. It looked to be about 60 students or so, dressed in their regulation khaki pants with red or white polo shirts and sweaters - a patriotic rumble with the occasional blue windbreaker.

Jefferson High School, I believe, is the oldest high school in Texas. It's a gorgeous Spanish colonial estate, with a Moorish dome, archways, mosaic tile, and I've been told it was a country club back in the day. That's in the days of segregation, when students like the ones marching today weren't permitted in the exclusive district next to the barrio where I live. After desegregation, everything changed, of course, and now few of the upper-class latino parents send their children to Jefferson High School, which is fed by the surrounding working-class barrios.

The cops watching the students are probably latinos, just like the principal and teachers. I hope they remember what it's like to be an immigrant. I hope they're teaching the students that the civil rights we have in this country have not come easily or cheaply. And that it's been us, those who have been marginalized, stereotyped, caricaturized, and downright hated - who have made this dream of America come true for all.

It's quiet now, and only the rooster next door is squacking for freedom. I think I'm gonna let him out.


anel i flores said…
i, too have watched the jefferson students. but they have been on the other side of my school gates. gates, which are locked. other students have been begging for us to be part of their voice, but we, at fox tech have been brainwashed to believe that it is wrong to walk out. i kind of understand that we shouldn't walk out, just because everyone is doing it. but, is that why everyone is doing it? i really feel like we do know. we do know that our grandparents will be considered criminals. we do know that we will have to scale a 700 mile wall to see our tios and tias during easter in mexico. we do know that everything that our sabias have fought for will be for nothing if we don't move in their direction. we do know that our histories have not been taught to us. there aren't any latino authors in our english classes, there are few latinos in history class. santa anna? come on. he killed us, maimed us! i don't know if walking out is the right thing but fox tech is moving. we, actually are the oldest school in san antonio, next to jefferson. we are organizing. yesterday almost 70 of us walked to the senator's office, each shook his hand and each handed him a letter that expressed our disagreement with the immigration reform bill. friday, we will have a teach in during both of our lunch periods, where students and special guests will be talking with us about history, about our rights, about immigration! we are making signs for the march or monday, april 10th where we plan to meet at Milam Park, wearing read, with our families and rally before we begin our trec. we will raise our voices!
Juana Gallo said…
Esta tierra nuestra. nos la robaron. mejicanos have the right to walk this land and to work here.I hope they talk to you tomorrow about the Treaty of Guadalupe. nos hicieron lo mismo a todos los indios. The Europeans arrived here y se hicieron anchos...en nuestras tierras. There is a price to pay for speaking up and out and better you pay here than in another country.
It is vital that we stick together. We cannot allow humans to be used like kleenex...we serve a purpose until they no longer need us. On Monday, stay calm, stay together, protect one another, do not antagonize or give reason for the police to lunge (given the chance they will) and do not allow strangers to photgraph you (big brother will be there) Hasta la marcha!
LarissaM-L said…
I passed out flyers the other day at Jefferson in support of the city-wide walkout and was stopped and questioned by administrators. Although I do believe teach-ins are more effective, I do not underestimate the power of a walkout, and the agency it gives young people who never thought they had agency before. If they had continued to challenge me I would have urged them not to regard this as an act of deviance, but as an opportunity to teach a great lesson in civics. The Chicana/o community has long been considered politically apathetic, and it's interesting how now that we are involved we are being discouraged.

As a side note, I encourage everyone reading this to pass along the word that EChALE, the Chicana/o graduate student group at UTSA will be holding a "Border Crossing" Statue Peace Vigil in response to the ultra-conservative Movement for the Future's demand that the statue be taken down. This is an attempt to whitewash not only our cultural legacy, but the legacy of America, which was built upon the shoulders of immigrants. The vigil will be held on April 13th at 12:30 on in front of the statue on the UTSA 1604 campus. For more info, contact
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