Oakland, Calif., community rallies to stop ICE raids

Trish Gorham, president of OEAOn Feb. 17, with the strong support of the Oakland Education Association, students, parents and teachers rallied outside Coliseum College Prep Academy, one of Oakland’s small public schools, to demand “safety” for undocumented students and an end to Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids. On “National Walk-In Day for the Schools Our Students Deserve,” this coalition focused on the demand of “No ICE! Stop the attack on Oakland families!”

“It is our duty to stand up to ICE. We support the teachers and students who are organizing this week all over our city,” said Trish Gorham, president of OEA. The Oakland teachers’ union passed a strong resolution last week opposing deportations and the appearance of ICE in this community.

The rally was a coalition effort of teachers and students from 30 Oakland schools who have committed themselves to informing the community about their rights and to organizing solidarity actions.

María Robles, mother of an Oakland student, spoke about the pain and fear that ICE causes in the immigrant community where she lives. “We live in constant fear of deportation. We are regular families working hard to survive,” Robles stated.

Another speaker introduced as María, a member of “67 Sueños,” a local community organization fighting for the rights of undocumented students, stated proudly, “We are not illegal. We are human beings.”

Edgar Sanchez, a teacher at Coliseum College Prep and the son of undocumented parents, chaired the action and led a march into the school, where many students showed their support and solidarity.  Summing up the theme of the rally and march, Sanchez said, “Our students and families have a right to stay together and feel safe.”