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Students March to Fund Anti-Prop. 187 TV Ads

October 24, 1994|MAKI BECKER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

VAN NUYS — To raise money to air anti-Proposition 187 television commercials, about 70 Latino students, their parents and teachers marched Sunday through the main streets of Van Nuys.

"Just because you are under 18 or you can't vote, students shouldn't just stand there," said Oscar Pelayo, 17, a senior at Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley. "We have to be fighting for our rights."

Holding signs, waving Mexican and American flags and chanting pro-Latino slogans, the demonstrators drew honks of support from passing motorists as they gathered in front of the Van Nuys state office before the 10-kilometer walk-a-thon.

Students belonging to chapters of a Latino and Chicano youth organization, MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano Aztlan), at San Fernando, Sylmar, Van Nuys and Polytechnic high schools and San Fernando Middle School have spent the last month gathering sponsors for the walk.

So far, they have collected more than $600 to help pay to produce the commercials the youngsters are making themselves and to buy television air time.

Political advertisements typically run about $20 a spot on local cable, according to the student activists, who will finish taping their messages today.

"I am proud, but there's a big difference between a proud Mexican national and being proud of your Mexican culture. I am proud of my Mexican culture," said Gustavo Gonzalez, 17, the president of Polytechnic's MEChA group, who was concerned that the public perceives opponents of Proposition 187 as un-American.

Gonzalez added that the members of MEChA at his school will not be engaging in controversial tactics, like those used last week by students at two Pacoima middle schools when they walked out of classes.

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