Stories of Resistance: Uniting Voices for Peace and Justice

“Con el hablar todo se entiende!”. My father, a proud participant of The Bracero Program, used to say that everything can be understood by speaking. The spoken narratives that shape our community must not only be protected, but defined by our voices. That is why the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV) is gearing up for a momentous event that promises to echo with these powerful narratives of resilience, unity, and the pursuit of justice. On September 24, 2023, from 2-4pm, the RCNV Scott Kennedy Hall will host “Stories of Resistance,” a gathering that stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of community activism and the unyielding commitment to Nonviolence.

This event is not just a gathering; it’s a response to the complex tapestry of challenges that have plagued racially segregated communities like Watsonville all across our nation over the centuries. It’s a reflection on the destructive consequences of community centered violence and the enduring impact on families and entire communities. 

In understanding the significance of “Stories of Resistance,” we must delve into the history that has shaped this resilient community. The Watsonville Peace and Unity March, now in its third decade, stands as the oldest annual community peace march in the region. This annual tradition was born from the dedicated efforts of local leaders such as Luis Alejo, Felipe Hernandez, and Rosa de Ramirez, Jenny Sarmiento, Mariela Renteria, who, in their youth, found their calling as activists through groups like the Brown Berets.

It was in 1994, under the guidance of these leaders, that the first peace and unity march took place. Rosa de Ramirez, a name revered for her tireless community work, tragically experienced the impact of community violence perpetuated on her son. Antonio, fell victim to a shooting in his community. This tragic event unfolded just weeks after the loss of Jorge Cortes, another young member of the community, in February of the same year, a stark reminder of the pressing need for change.

The Watsonville Peace and Unity March, a living embodiment of the Kingian Philosophy of the Beloved Community, asserts that community focused, nonviolence centered events are the antidote to a broad spectrum of violence centered circumstances plaguing our communities. The legacy of this march underscores that to achieve unity, peace and justice, we must start right here at home by telling our stories.

“Stories of Resistance” is a call to action, a plea for unity in divisive times and for prioritizing social  justice through collective unifying community efforts. It is a reminder that the struggles of our past have not gone unnoticed but have in fact given rise to a more cohesive and empowered community. 

Come be in beloved community with us by participating in this transformative experience on September 24th, from 2-4pm RCNV Scott Kennedy Hall. Join us as we add new chapters to the inspiring narrative of Watsonville’s journey towards peace, justice, and unity. Because, as my father still says, with speaking, all can be understood.

Silvia Morales

Executive Director


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