A rally and concert Saturday at downtown Los Angeles will mark the 25th anniversary of the passing of Proposition 187, an initiative meant to deny basic services to undocumented immigrants in the state but that ended fortifying the Latino electorate and turning California into the progressive, pro-immigrant state it is today.
The “Rally For Our Rights: 25 Years Beyond Prop 187” event takes place from 9 am to 4 pm at the Los Angeles State Historic Park (1245 North Spring Street, Los Angeles 90012). Several California elected officials are expected to speak; there will be musical performances, food trucks and information booths from various organizations.
Dubbed the “Save Our State” initiative, Proposition 187 sought to ban undocumented immigrants from schools and hospitals and prevent their access to public assistance. It also required teachers, doctors, and police officers to report anyone suspected of being an undocumented immigrant.
At the time, California was suffering from a national recession and high unemployment. Facing a tough re-election, Governor Pete Wilson threw his support behind the initiative and painted immigrant communities as the cause of the woes the state and nation were experiencing. His divisive rhetoric worked and on Nov. 8, 1994, Prop. 187 won with 59% of the vote and Wilson was re-elected.
Proposition 187 was challenged in court and never implemented. And the campaign against the initiative energized Latino activists and leaders and increased electoral participation in immigrant communities.
Saturday’s event is being organized by The We Are: 25 Years Beyond Prop 187 committee, which is producing a full length documentary and developing a curriculum on the effect of the initiative with the LA County Office of Education. The committee’s campaign aims to highlight the legacy Proposition 187 by connecting leaders from the fight against Prop 187 with the next generation. The group also intends to highlight the importance of being counted in the 2020 Census and registering to vote in advance of California’s 2020 Presidential Primaries.
Committee members include the California Community Foundation, The California Endowment, SEIU-CA, Los Angeles Labor Federation, AFM Local 47, SAG-AFTRA, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Senator Maria Elena Durazo, Assembly Speaker Emeritus Fabian Núñez, Senate President pro Tem Emeritus Kevin de León, L.A. Supervisor Hilda Solis, L.A. Supervisor Gloria Molina (Ret.), L.A. Councilmember Gil Cedillo.