Fresno City Council Vice President Miguel Ángel Arias joined other speakers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to espouse the civil leader’s philosophy of nonviolence and judging an individual by their “content of character.”
Arias, speaking in front of Fresno City Hall where an estimated 1,500 marchers gathered after having started from St. John’s Cathedral under a cloudy sky, spoke about being a 2-year-old undocumented immigrant and the importance of looking at the positives that immigrants have brought to this country.
Without mentioning President Donald J. Trump’s name, Arias said “it is not time for a wall, it’s time for bridges.”
“It is not a time for us to bargain with human rights and the human lives of immigrants,” said Arias. “It is not a time for us to bargain away the lives of Dreamers. It is not a time for us to bargain away the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.
“It is a time for us to stand up and say ‘No more!’ Open the government. Let the people work. Let the people get paid. They’ve earned it.”
Arias, one of four speakers who addressed the marchers before they started the procession to the Fresno Veterans Auditorium, told listeners to “remember those who fought for our rights.”
“It’s our responsibility to maintain and protect those rights,” said Arias. “The legacy of Martin Luther King will only live on if we fight to protect it.”
Congressmember Jim Costa, D-Fresno, recalled King’s legacy in his remarks.
“We shall overcome today and we shall overcome tomorrow over the people who preach bigotry and racism and hate,” said Costa.
Fresno Acting Police Chief Pat Farmer credited the community for a drop in shootings and other crimes.