It’s not every day you see an Aztec drummer and dancers leading a procession of people chanting for unity, but that was exactly the case on Sept. 14 in Hollister. The peaceful march on Fourth Street took place early Saturday morning and ended at the free, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) health fair in the Hollister Recreation parking lot at 300 West Street.
“For those who don’t have a voice, we are their voice today,” said Riana Gutierrez, president of the LULAC Young Adult Council. Although she’s been a member for six years, this was the first time she participated in a demonstration. “We weren’t sure about the reactions we would get from the community, but as we were marching we had a lot of good positive feedback.”
The march was held to stand in solidarity with immigrant families to renounce hate and bring awareness to the injustices immigrants face.
“A lot of people were honking supporting us!” said Kelly Bueno Alvarez, a high school senior with the LULAC Adelante Youth Leadership program. Alvarez had the task of shouting chants into a bullhorn. “Even though it is a lot of work, it feels good because we are helping our community.”
The coalition of youth and adult marchers dispersed into the health fair as the procession reached the Hollister Rec parking lot. The fair offered booths from local, environmental, public service, city and county agencies, as well as education, health and social services. At the San Benito County Eyecare booth, employee and Hollister resident Lisa Roldan said the fair is a great resource because “a lot of people don’t know about all the programs.”
The United Farm Workers Foundation handed out fliers at their booth informing people of weekly citizenship and DACA renewal application assistance at their Salinas office at 118 E. Gabilan St. The Lion’s Club of San Martin provided free health screenings for body mass index, blood pressure and diabetes. Lauren Miller, 23, just joined the club “to get more involved with the community.”
Kip Ward, director of student services with the Hollister School District, said, “We are here to support the nearly 5,600 kids who attend our district and encourage them to make healthy choices.”