Discontent with cuts to local schools spilled onto Napa streets Sunday afternoon when a group of students, teachers and community leaders banded together in a public protest.

Using the parking lot of New Technology High School as a starting point, the group of about 50 people marched south along Yajome Street, east on Clinton Street and south along Soscol Avenue, where they spent an hour chanting and waving signs.

The Napa Valley Unified School District is preparing to eliminate as many as 60 positions this year — including 43 teachers and five administrators — and will close Capell Valley, Wooden Valley and Carneros elementary schools because of reductions in state education funding.

Some protesters carried signs that read “Support our schools, not jails,” and “Education 4 1 Nation.” Others showed wider political concerns, carrying signs that read “Fight Immigrant Bashing” and “Give me your tired, your poor.”

New Tech High Teacher Alma Cortez-Lara said the main reason for the demonstration was “that we are furious at education cutting and the raise in tuition for college students. The second reason we are here is for immigrant rights, it’s part of a national effort going on today. It’s the last day to get it on the agenda. The third reason why we are here is to celebrate Cesar Chavez’ birthday.”

Each demonstrator had his or her reason for marching.

“Education is important to me, it’s my top priority,” said Madison Remigio, 14, a ninth grader at New Tech High. “I want to be able to get into college without having to pay a lot of money.”

Oscar Galdamez, a Spanish teacher at New Tech, was one of the 43 instructors within NVUSD who received a pink slip in March. If he gets laid off in May it will be especially hard on Galdamez’ family, since his wife, Rachel, a teacher at Casa Grande High School in Petaluma, also received a pink slip.

“I’m just praying that these things will make a difference,” Galdamez said as he stood on Soscol Avenue with his wife.

Alex Shantz, 22, is a member of the Napa Valley College’s chapter of Students for a Democratic Society. He said he was marching Sunday to show solidarity with the Latino community and support immigration reform.

“It’s a shame; these are people who are just trying to provide for themselves,” Shantz said.

President Barack Obama has vowed to direct attention to immigration reform and create a bipartisan solution to the problem this year. Groups such as Latinos Unidos de Napa Valley, which is one of the three that sponsored Sunday’s demonstration, are working to make sure that the cause is not forgotten.

Students for a Democratic Society and Californians for Democracy — a group that advocates for a majority rule in legislative actions that affect the state’s budget and revenue — also sponsored Sunday’s march.

“Without the means to raise the revenue to educate students, we are going to continue to have a problem,” said Joanne Gifford, Napa campaign director for Californians for Democracy.

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And to those claiming that radical groups will alienate voters: lets consider the present situation. The economy is awful. People are losing jobs. People are losing homes. People are losing an opportunity to receive an education. There are three major demographics that are starting to cross the dots together. These demographics are: the Latino community, the students, and the workers. These demographics make up a lot of people. And these aren’t fringe radicals. These are ordinary people that are discontent and are starting to see the system for what it is. These are ordinary people that are wanting change that neither Obama nor the Tea Party are offering. These are ordinary people that are becoming active. There have been two mass demonstrations in the state within the last few months. And May day is yet to come. This movement will only keep growing.


A mass radical movement is indeed forming in not only Napa but the entire North Bay. There have been pockets of resistance organizing for awhile now. These pockets of resistance, however, are starting to cross pollinate. The growing student movement has added new energy into the movement. As the months pass by this movement will only progress.


This march, which overall focused on education, but did have support for an immigration reform, is believed to alienate some voters because of the "radical" factions involved. And that may be right. Obviously in politics you must play with the public to create an image they can generally support.

But in another perspective, as of last ear, student uprisings have been happening across the state, across the nation, and even across the globe. In fact, that same day of Napa's March, there were to relatively local protests as well: one was a mass rally in Sacramento by students, and another was a mass rally and march in Santa Rosa for immigration reform.
And on March 4, 2010, there was a mass march that combined both issues, especially immigration reform in the form of the DREAM ACT in Berkeley.
So perhaps this march, rather than alienate voters, will bring "radical" people together into one mass movement.
Or perhaps not...
But who knows.

John Richards
John Richards

[quote]alixzander said: "The reactionary right groups, such as the Tea Bag Party, have been espousing anti-immigration views. It is completely acceptable for groups on the other side to stand up and protect the immigration community. This is an extremely vulnerable demographic and good for SDS for reforming standing up for this demographic."[/quote]

You make the same mistake as most liberals, by attempting to blur the difference between legal immigrants and illegal immigrants. Don't worry, the voters won't be fooled.

John Richards
John Richards

hummingbird wrote: "I support all the students, teachers and members of the community who went to the march."

The irony is that relatively good causes, like wanting to improve the schools, will get lost in the eyes of the voters when you walk shoulder to shoulder with SDS radicals who advocate amnesty for illegal immigrants.


Chrysanthemum and viewers who may have been confused:

I saw the demonstration and the crosses are actually part of the coffin with the large words EDUCATION written on it.
The crosses and the coffin symbolize of Death to Education. The person who made the coffin must have wanted people to quickly understand that the black box was a coffin, hence the crosses, and hence the inscription R.I.P, which cannot be seen via this two-dimensional photograph. I must say that I have not seen such a large number of people out on the streets for quite a while.
Kudos to those who manifested themselves on that day.


Not a Napa Native and others, you are appearing to rearrange my words to your convenience.
It is actually private contractors who do this.
They will only target those who are most vulnerable though, such as people who speak neither english nor spanish---such as native americans from mexico.
It seems like you (those who are responding to this article in general) have never worked in the agricultural fields along side the migrant workers, but it is unintelligent of me to deduce that.

If you want facts, i will dig them up for you.

I support all the students, teachers and members of the community who went to the march.

The teachers did not take a day off from grading papers to come to the march. They prepared ahead of time.

Higher education will NOT be a privileged of the few.
Wealth and power has already been consolidating into the hands of fewer and fewer people.

Students will not standby idle. They will march , protest, unite, and manifest.
A student movement is polymerizing.



Social injustices should be recognized here and worldwide.

The protest was said to have been for education, yet you hold crosses. Separation of church and state!

Please respect that education stretches far beyond the history of Mexico or any organized religion.



So you are saying that the US government is bringing poor illegal immigrants into the country, putting them in remote camps and forcing them to buy over priced food etc?

As a relatively recent LEGAL IMMIGRANT, who had to learn English, I can tell you there was no trickery involved in my case.

Would you mind sharing this facts behind your assertion?

I am very interested....


Once again, I am an immigrant, like everyone else who is either directly or indirectly an immigrant. I dislike the materialistic, superficial, self-righteous, and entitled behavior of the the U.S.. But these characteristics, which do not represent all people, are something that are not only a part of the U.S., but a part of society in many parts of the world.
We are in a competitive rush to gain power and material goods, and we exploit, steal, and enslave---for example, sex slaves, and workers from rural villages who are tricked into coming here and are placed in working camps where they must buy overpriced food, and, in some extreme cases, are not even allowed to leave.

We can never simply forget history, that would be a most profoundly dumb thing. History helps us make better decisions and understand our current workings and situations in society.
However, what myself and others are commenting on are NOT history. We are wreaking havoc in the world right now.


Nah ca8137, I'm totally self reliant (in the private sector), unlike those you seem to want my tax $ to coddle.


“It's not about history dates.”

This is unbelievable. It’s not about how history and dates? Is this type of logic that causes colleges to exclude cultural studies courses from their curriculum?

The reactionary right groups, such as the Tea Bag Party, have been espousing anti-immigration views. It is completely acceptable for groups on the other side to stand up and protect the immigration community. This is an extremely vulnerable demographic and good for SDS for reforming standing up for this demographic.


[quote]John Richards said: "What do you think these protesters accomplished with their protest? By combining all the leftist causes, including those espoused by the radical SDS, they managed to alienate the moderate voters they so badly need to get their demands passed."[/quote]


We are on the same side of this argument.

i do however want to point out that LEGAL immigrants need to be differentiated from ILLEGAL immigrants.

i and many others played by the rules, came here LEGALLY and assimilated into contributing law abiding members of society.

We acknowledge the privilege we have been granted and are fully committed to contributing to a better society.

We take our responsibilities very seriously and are fully aware that we are here as a as a result of the generosity of the US.

John Richards
John Richards

[quote]OmieRock said: "Happy to see this protest get recognition. More power to those fighting for immigrants' rights, the DREAM act, and education in general!"[/quote]

What do you think these protesters accomplished with their protest? By combining all the leftist causes, including those espoused by the radical SDS, they managed to alienate the moderate voters they so badly need to get their demands passed.

John Richards
John Richards

[quote]OmieRock said: "One reason why so many people come here illegally is because the nationalization process needs to be more accessible and attainable to those less fortunate. Less expensive and a smaller timeframe."[/quote]

Nonsense. The procedure today takes the same time and expense as it did 50 years ago when I immigrated. Immigrants back then didn't have a problem with the rules, they waited their turn. Why can't current immigrants do the same? America doesn't have an obligation to take in an unlimited number of those wanting in.


[quote]Chrysanthemum said: "hummingbird, itsroutine-It's not about your personal feelings. It's not about who you think is deserving or undeserving. It's not about history dates.It's about people breaking the law. Bottled up emotions, are no excuse to break the law. "[/quote]

This isn't about revenge, this isn't about emotions, this is about real circumstances which have shaped the lives of Latin Americans to seek their future in the United States.

How do you see a long standing history of exploitation as well as ONGOING exploitation as irrelevant to this matter? This isn't just history, it is present reality.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Illegal immigration is the result of actions by OUR country and others. Enforcing the laws you hold so dear will not stop that reaction, it will merely cause it to manifest itself in another way.


It's Routine,

At some point grievances from the past need to be let go.

Europe figured that our after WW2.

For all it's faults the US has been the most generous victor in the world has ever seen.

After destroying Germany and Japan in WW2, they funded their reconstruction so that their people could rebuild their lives and prosper.

Both are now solid vibrant democracies, whose people enjoy 1st world lives.

Are you suggesting that the US be perfect, never make mistakes and is responsible for the entire world?

That is not my vision of US responsibility, nor do I suspect that it is shared by most Americans.

Without question the US has made mistakes, but at some point after no longer perpetuating those mistakes the world needs to move on.

The world remembers Nazi Germany, yet Germans today are no longer held responsible for the actions of 50 years ago.

Why is the US not entitled to the same principle for things that happened over 100 years ago?



I learned english while we were waiting our "turn".

We were delayed time and again as quotas were reached.

These quotas were very low because of the ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.

If everybody had to go through the same process there would :
1) be more ethnicly and culturally diversity, (something I think most support)
2) be greater perceived fairness in the system
3) be greater investment in the overall community by all immigrants
4) be greater embracing of immigrants by the community as a whole (because they know they are here legally and are invested in their own success)

I am sorry you did not feel welcome in this community, I certainly did.

Perhaps that is because I tried to fit in and assimilate, learned english (the official language) ,stand on my own 2 feet, and played by the rules to get here.

I did NOT fly my old countries flag, expect to be spoken to in my mother tongue, demand special privileges, or steal someone else's identity.

Being here is a PRIVILEGE!


hummingbird, itsroutine-

It's not about your personal feelings. It's not about who you think is deserving or undeserving.

It's not about history dates.

It's about people breaking the law.

Bottled up emotions, are no excuse to break the law. That is what is happening in this state.

A majority of the hispanic community is still trying to get revenge because they lost their land.

They get revenge by assisting their family members in coming here illegally.

That is exactly why your feelings about past events in history do not matter, because those are the same feelings that encourage people to break the law.


Happy to see this protest get recognition. More power to those fighting for immigrants' rights, the DREAM act, and education in general!

One reason why so many people come here illegally is because the nationalization process needs to be more accessible and attainable to those less fortunate. Less expensive and a smaller timeframe.


What about North African immigrants into Europe? Don't those illegal immigrants have similar viewpoints as the ones from Latina America?

Latin Americans feel they can immigrate at will to the United States because social and economic circumstances have made that a necessity of life.

Now, you tell me. Why do United States and European businesses and corporations feel that they can exploit the resources and workers of Latin America? We're talking about mineral and metal extraction since the time of Columbus, agricultural products such as Sugar and Bananas since at least the 1900s, and sweat shops and factories in more recent times.

Also, Chrysanthemum please notice that social and economic trespasses on behalf of the United States on Mexico (and other countries) did not begin and end with the acquisition of the southwestern territories.


This community doesn't sound very welcoming to me.
notanapanative, you seem to always use the same argument.

It is sad that we must migrate. I am also an immigrant and for the longest time I hated being here, in what I saw as a materialistic, disconnected culture.

Comments such as jack27022003 don't deserve anyone's time.

This is not just about a Mexican session in th e 1800s.
This is about a manifest Destiny, a Big Stick Policy, self-righteousness, and a conquest and genocide of the people of the America's as a whole that goes beyond simple acquiring of land and resources...

We continue to cause problems in Latin America.
On top of blaming us, the U.S. for the problems in Latin America, I will blame us for the problems in the rest of the World. We have done so much damage, exploitation, and have planted corruption. But it is not just us, it is a group of superpowers and we are one of them.


it's routine,

Please tell me why is it that Latin Americans feel they have the right to immigrate AT WILL to the US legally or not.


Why is it UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED by EVERY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD (even the UN), that a country has a right to determine immigration policy for itself.

Even the Latin American countries enforce immigration laws, a Costa Rican CANNOT just decide to move to Mexico and vice versa.

Yet the US is held to a different standard?

Please explain the double standard that is held ONLY in this field by primarily one ethnic group and then we can tackle why you feel the US is responsible for everything wrong in Latin America in a separate discussion.


antipc: proud to say no. Who supports YOU? Taxpayers perhaps...


When the Hispanic community can begin to discourage ALL illegal activity, this state can make progress.

The Hispanic community determines the future success of this state.

Please take a stand against all illegal activity and discrimation.

Please stop punishing citizens that live here now, for an event in history that took place around 162 years ago.

The Mexican Cessian of 1848, happened. It's over. Selfishly protesting for your own people disguised as a protest for education is wrong.

And then you wonder why people use the phrase "abusing the system".


[quote]notanapanative said: If they think they will get caught they will not do it.We are encouraging this despicable act by our lax enforcement!"[/quote]

While I appreciate your perspective as a legal immigrant, there is a lot of history and circumstances that make the relationship between the United States and Latin America different from that of other countries.

Enforcing the laws can make a difference, but it is likely to just create brand new problems and even more dangerous situations for would-be-immigrants from Latin America.

We're so quick to say that the problems of Latin Americans are their own, but they really are not, at least not fully, these problems continue to be intertwined with our own.

Maybe if we build more border walls, shoot illegal immigrants on site, and maybe even put some moats with alligators up, we may truly stop illegal immigration by way of enforcement. But that sounds like some Science Fiction police state, not the United States.


ca8137, who supports you?

Taxpayers perhaps.


If we deported half the illegals, and their children, our schools would have a budget surplus, and we would be able to once again have a top rated school system. We can't afford to educate, and feed all the illegals free babies. Go hame and leyt the new richest person in the world subsidize your big families.


"....“Give me your tired, your poor.”" This isn't 1810, we're poor and sick of taking in the tired from around the world. Fight for your own freedoms in whatever country you come from. They owe you an education, not me.



So if you are in favor of enforcing current laws the illegals should be deported as per current law.

Once we are reasonably certain the process is underway, I would wholeheartedly support a process by which anyone could apply for a US Green Card, in their home country (not from the US), and we can dramatically increase the numbers allowed in.

All would have been cleared by US Immigration and all would be subject to the same restrictions I am.
1) I must notify DHS with 10 days of moving
2) I must keep my Green Card on me at ALL TIMES
3) I must support myself as I am ineligible for Welfare etc.

I must disagree that comparing Mexico to other countries is an apples to oranges debate.

Human smuggling is illegal and wrong no matter who the victim is, and whether they sign up for it willingly or not, is only determined by their perception of US enforcement.

If they think they will get caught they will not do it.

We are encouraging this despicable act by our lax enforcement!


Good for these students and teachers. I support both groups 100%


That's what we ought to do Alix, just like Oregon eh.

Tax corporations on their gross receipts rather than their profits and make it retroactive. What a model for success........if you measure success by how many businesses you can force to leave the state.



Do you really see charging for College level education as a tax?

Most people don't.

The college fee increases are unfortunate, but there is a recession on and at present the state does not have the same level of funds available to subsidize college as before.

Furthermore California college education is (after the fee hikes) is still far cheaper than what most colleges charge here or abroad (I checked in Canada).

The fees are actually less than the public university I went to over 10 years ago (I paid my own way thank you).

So the new fees are NOT onerous when compared to the rest of the country or Canada.

The taxpayer is simply not able to pay more.

Good luck charging corporations more, they can and will move.

My company may leave behind nothing more than a sales office if taxes and fees continue to rise in California, personally I prefer not to be unemployed, so I am advocating for NO NEW TAXES!


I didn't say it was better. Don't put words in my mouth. I was just stating a fact. Do I approve of breaking the law? No.
So..because I feel compassion for those who are suffering I have no principles. How did you read that into my post? Maybe you should read it again.
Are the Mexicans who flee here oppressed by their government?
Aren't they just dirt poor and seeking a better life? They aren't under "imminent threat" from their government.
Angola and Zimbabwe aren't just over the border. Apples and oranges.
Of course, we, the United States should determine who comes into our country. We have laws. They should be enforced. We don't have the resources..I guess..or it would be happening.
It sure is a sign of desperation that they put themselves in the hands of the coyotes. U.S. policy isn't being enforced.
My principles are very fine, thank you...


There is wealth and resources all over the state. The issue isn’t lack of wealth, it’s the fact that the wealth isn’t going to education. Tax corporations. That’s a place to start.

To all you out there that hate taxes. What happens when you increase student fees? You are taxing students. The money doesn’t even go directly to schools. It all goes the state general fund. Why is the cost being passed onto the most vulnerable demographic?



So it is somehow better that instead of committing tax evasion they commit tax fraud and identity theft?

I to feel compassion for the many millions of people who are oppressed and abused by their governments!

That is why I want Immigration law enforced!

We have a published Amnesty program for those under imminent threat.

We also have a published Immigration program for those not under imminent threat, but wanting to leave their homeland for whatever reasons.

Are people living in Juarez any more in danger than folks living in Angola, or Zimbabwe?

Shouldn't we the United States determine who we feel should be let into the US?

Or is it somehow morally superior to let folks face death and abuse at the hands of human trafficer's by not doing something about our southern border?

Trafficers are preying on the misery in Mexico, and US policy is facilitating the abuse.

Where are your principles of helping the most needy and deserving, by enforcing our laws consistently and fairly


They pay taxes if they've given a false SS number. It comes out of their paycheck. But I'm not a proponent of illegal immigration. I just understand why it's happening and feel compassion for their desperation to support their families.

Teachers marching on a Sunday. They took a day off from correcting papers, planning lessons, preparing worksheets, and scheduling the week. A nice day in the valley.
LMW: Great post.


Great News and good for all these students! I wrote a parent letter to support my sons school NJES Grant for City of AC, see website agenda. Mike Thompson and Pat Wiggins supported the same issue, its kinda of the support we need to press for in our cities. Our leaderships tend to oversee the simple needs for the stuff that is all tied together.

If we can't as a Nation protect the borders or see the devastation of the unhumane activities that are happening near our soil across the borders? Get a grip, these are people and I prefer they find anyway to escape from being a victim of evil acts and a government that has not been able to protect their citizens!

Ask your Senators what their vision is of the big picture.


To whocares,

There is problems with non-government run programs too. In a city in Pennsylvania the city decided to allow a private business run the juveinille detention center. The center was paid by taxes from the citizens but run like a private business. Now when this happend many kids began getting locked up for up to 9 months for minimal infractions, i.e, two girls in a small fist fight, a kid caught with marijuana, a kid fighting with there parents, a girl writing notes bad mouthing a teacher at school, just many small things. Now since it was run as a private business all they cared about was profits. The longer the kid was locked up, the more tax money they were pocketing. In doing so they had a backdoor deal with judges who sentenced these kids to extreme punishments. The judge was just sending these kids in to line his and the businesses pockets at the expense of the taxpayer. Most these men are in prison now but this is what happends with private business for profit


Question: "What are you protesting?"
Answer: "What do you have?"
[Marlon Brando-The wild One-1953]


Education in CA already receives half the budget of the 8th largest economic entitiy in the world (the state of CA). So my answer to their funding problems is to suggest they look inward and learn to live within their means. And yo better do it quick. With the Left's passage of health care reform over the weekend there very soon will be even less money available for education.

On another note, it is an interesting combination of interests at work in this story - Those wanting even greater funding for education, coupled with those wanting amnesty granted to illegal aliens. You would think the education crowd would be opposed to the illegal immigration, but somehow they march united, demonstrating the Left's only true core principal - increasing taxes on the citizenry to "spread the wealth" to themselves.


This is actually funny considering the state is billions in debt. Would you like them to print more money to save these jobs? Education is the perfect example of a govt. run program. And, hey now we have health care, how proud you all must be! Financed by a country that is broke, what could go wrong??? Get ready to open your pocketbooks and watch your 401K's get taken now, I think I'll quit my job and let Obama take care of me, too. Great change!


Better move your protest to DC.....the states can't print money.


As a LEGAL IMMIGRANT I am confused as to what rights I am lacking?

I have been given the right to live and work here, the right to Free Speech, Assembly, and Religion.

If I pay my taxes and obey the laws (which I do), I am left alone by the police.

I have been made to feel welcome by many here in the US, and in Napa in particular, this is a very welcoming place.

Aside from voting, which is reserved for citizens, I am a full participating member of US society.

So please help me understand what rights I am missing!

Now, if you are advocating for ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS you are advocating for folks who have BROKEN THE LAW, at least once, and continue to break the law every time they give a false SS#, or work under the table and don't pay taxes.

They are the ones who have themselves to blame by sneaking into the country, or overstaying their Visa's.

As I have said in a previous post, being a good person is INSUFFICIENT to remain here when MILLIONS are waiting their turn at coming here.

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