For Immediate Release
May 5th, 2016
Contact: Armando Carmona, email@example.com, (323) 250-3018
Memorial Celebration Honors Fernando Pedraza, Day Laborer Tragically Killed During Minutemen Protest
Rancho Cucamonga, CA – Today, on May 5th 2016, workers, local leaders, community members and the family of Jose Fernando Pedraza gathered to celebrate, remember his life. He is honored by those who continue to struggle for workers rights and immigrant rights. In 2007, during an anti-immigrant demonstration held by the Minutemen Project he was tragically killed by an automobile collision while he stood in the street corner where he searched for work on a daily basis. He was leader that inspired and motivated his fellow workers to get involved, participate and to collectively struggle for dignified work and fair wages.
The event was attended by over fifty people from the community including a local politician, faculty and students from Pitzer College, members of the media, workers, activists and family members of Mr. Pedraza. During the event, those that knew him shared uplifting stories about his life, updates about victories in immigrant rights, spoken word and live music.
Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network said:
“The reason why workers can stand on a sidewalk to solicit employment in this city, is because of Don Fernando Pedraza. Don Fernando died during a Minutemen and KKK anti-migrant protest en el 5 de mayo in 2007. Because of the tension and distraction the Minutemen protest caused, a vehicle hit another vehicle and it veered towards Don Fernando Pedraza killing him instantly. We won the fight. And the workers are free to look for work.”
Imelda Pedraza, Fernando’s daughter said:
“José Fernando Pedraza [my father] is still alive in our hearts because the biggest tragedy in life isn’t death; the tragedy is to allow the beautiful feelings and moments that brighten up our lives to die and fade away. He struggled with a great vision and focus for his compañeros of Arrow and Grove in Rancho Cucamonga. So that they can receive better and had a safe place to search for work. That is what made him a great leader who was able to see his vision become successful. Your family and friends remember you with love. Thank you.”
Jose Zapata Calderon, Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Chicano/a and Latino/a Studies at Pitzer College said:
“Fernando Pedraza was a father, a grandfather, and a day laborer leader who organized for a day labor center in Rancho Cucamonga and won an important court case allowing day laborers to gather on the corner of Arrow and Grove. He died on Cinco de Mayo, nine years ago at that same location when the Minute Men decided to hold an anti-immigrant protest. The legacy of Fernando Pedraza continues today, not only in the community-based movements which have moved the state of California to be more supportive of our immigrant communities, but also in the ongoing efforts to stop deportations and to ensure the just and legalization of all our day laborers and our undocumented families.”