All immigrants were hailed and the message to President Donald J. Trump was sent from the Joaquín Murrieta Pilgrimage in east Fresno County.
Riders and marchers joined forces on the second-of-three day pilgrimage honoring Murrieta on Saturday (July 28) on a highway between Firebaugh and Mendota.. The annual pilgrimage attracts participants from throughout the state and, this year, immigrants’ rights are a big issue.
“This is for no more separation of families, no more deportations, and we want reform. We have the support of the Joaquín Murrieta riders,” said marcher Guadalupe Cervantes, who also organized about 20 marchers to come from Fresno.
The marchers chanted and motorists responded with honking horns along Highway 33, which is flanked by acreage of agriculture. They gathered at a park in Mendota after walking about 8 miles from Firebaugh. The Murrieta riders, many former and current farmworkers, showed their support in the ride.
“They left ahead of us,” said Edith González, the granddaughter of Julián Orozco, one of the organizers of the original local Murrieta ride in 1978.
“They’re walking and we’ll catch up to them along the ride.”
Many felt the the march and Murrieta, who was also called the Mexican Robin Hood, is a fitting tribute. Thousands of immigrant workers arrived to this country to work the fields, and they should be respected for their input, said Stan Santos of the Comité de los Derechos de los Inmigrantes del Valle Central.
He added both Firebaugh and Mendota are huge immigrant, farmworking communities.
“We’re marching alongside the 40th anniversary of Murrieta ride, this is a very historical event, and I can see where they join together. We chose this leg of Firebaugh to Mendota because Firebaugh is an agricultural community,” said Santos.
“My father came around 1930 and they lived in tent cities, they built the early agricultural industry. Some went to war and then came back and contributed to this country. Mendota was a big Mexican community, but now has a big Salvadoran community, which has been affected by the cancellation of TPS (Temporary Protective Status) program.”
Approximately 300,000 immigrants living in the U.S. are affected by the cancellation of TPS, a program that offered immigrants entry to the U.S. and escape disaster and war in their respective countries.