Whose March Was It?

Pretty interesting how the Dallas Half a Million Mexicans March is shaking out politically, now that it's all in the past. All of the big-name Latino politicians are trying to step in front and take credit for having set it up. But I have been talking to people who were there and behind the scenes, and they say it gets clearer with the passage of time that the politicians were marginal bit players, in terms of what really happened.

First of all, the student walkouts that preceded it were truly spontaneous and youthful. The big reason the walkouts happened over two days is that the original instant-messaging string started out with a confused date. What kids can get dates right? The adult march in downtown a week later was actually a competitive melee of groups, Chicano organizations versus immigrant clubs, with different groups jockeying for position in the street up until the moment the thing started.

The people I am talking to say the main credit for all of it goes to the kids, who were inspired by the new Edward James Olmos made-for-HBO movie Walkout and because it sounded like fun and the right thing to do. They lit the fuse for their parents a week later. Now all of the politicians are trying to say it was their march, like all those unregistered aliens came downtown and risked deportation because they want to see Domingo Garcia elected mayor. Highly unlikely. More likely: an unaffected and unorganized outpouring of deeply held sentiment. --Jim Schutze

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky