Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Students unite to march for peace

More than 40 students and citizens from a city of over 60,000 people took to the streets of Pico Rivera calling for peace in their city by using a loud collective voice chanting an insistent ‘Peace in our streets!’ The peace march was held on Jan. 30 in response to the erosion of families and the community at large by the abuse of drugs and alcohol. 


This rally is also intended to bring attention to the countless victims of deadly violence on local youth by youth, with the most recent being the murder of eighteen-year-old Jose Ramos, a resident of Pico Rivera and Cerritos College track and field team member killed at a party no more than 7 days before.   


Gregory Salcedo, who teaches at El Rancho High school and also serves on the City Council of Pico Rivera, also knew Ramos and showed his support for the peace march by giving a pep-talk before the marchers hit the streets, “What brings me out here is the fact that I’m a father. Not that I’m an elected official or a school teacher. I knew Jose. His situation touched me as a dad. There are already laws against murder. We all know that, but it doesn’t stop monsters. I think the thing we can do is the way we treat each other. It’s the way we interact with one another is what’s going to keep us safe and dignified.”


Cerritos College student Aidee Marquez, undecided major, also works for the city of Pico Rivera and attended the rally to support the cause and to bring attention for the need for change on how the people of her community treat each other.


“All these streets are coming down to violence and every other word is a bad word. We need to respect each other, we shouldn’t be talking to each other like that. I was hearing in the news that [Los Angeles] now is one of the rudest cities. That makes us look really, really bad.”


Vanessa Ayala, child development major, was a personal friend of Ramos and was there for her late friend and for the city. She said she would love to see big changes come to Pico Rivera by its citizens simply being good to one another.


“We have so many young kids that are expiring and we also want everybody to know not to be mean to one another and not to kill innocent people,” Ayala said.


Ayala also makes a plea for Ramos’s killer. “Turn yourself in. You did a wrong thing to somebody really innocent. It was wrong. Just because you couldn’t go into a party, you shouldn’t be able to do that. You should just turn yourself in because you hurt so many people’s lives.”


This peace march was the result of the efforts of many students, but it stemmed from nineteen-year-old Angel O. Ruelas.


He arrived at the peace march’s starting point at Rivera park with a carload of recruited friends brandishing the grass-roots tools-of-the-trade staple for any demonstration;  brightly colored protest signs and a shared sense of conviction and determination. 


Ruelas explains how his drive for change more comes from a need welling from within his self.


“I felt like this is what I have to do, nobody motivated me to do anything.  I just woke up one morning and said, ‘you know what, I think I should do this.'”


With a police escort in tow, the marchers were greeted on Passons boulevard with residents coming out of their houses with cameras snapping shots and taking footage of a parade of protesters of peace. 


When the peace march reached the intersection of Passons & Slauson avenue, a show of support from citizens was shown through cars honking, thumbs up and a few people joining the ranks along the way. 


And finally, at the intersection of Rosemead avenue & Washington boulevard, the marchers split into two groups and doused intrigued commuters from corner to corner with the question; ‘What do we want?’ Followed by the response; ‘Peace!’

When do they want it? 


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Students unite to march for peace