It’s been nearly two decades since Tomas Alejo and his family helped launched the Peace and Unity March in Watsonville and just a little over 400 people came out on a warm Sunday afternoon to help support their fallen loved ones or perhaps lend a supporting hand to those in a time of grief.
Family members of the victims such as Richard Campos, Oscar Perez, Gregorio Ramirez, and recently Jesse Lopez were present along with several city officials like Felipe Hernandez and Lowell Hurst who made it out to participate in this year’s march.
Back in 1994, the gang-related killings of 9-year-old Jessica Cortez and her 16-year-old brother Jorge outside of El Nopal Bakery in Pajaro sparked the community to come together and fight the streets by spreading the word of hope and opportunity to stop street violence.
Today, the Alejo family and the Brown Berets continue to spread the word to stop the violence and spread peace in the streets and on Sunday they invited keynote speaker Cesar Cruz from Homies Empowerment Project of Oakland, Calif.
If people had even five percent of the energy and passion Cruz has for cleaning up the streets, without a doubt there would be change for the best. His passionate speech to the crowd electrified them and received a well-deserved cheer from everyone listening.
After the White Hawk Danza Azteca performance in the plaza, everyone gathered in front of Cabrillo College on Union Street then headed towards Maple Street and made their way through nearby neighborhoods and back to the plaza while being escorted by Watsonville Police.