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Opinion Piece: The Reasons Behind Numerous Latinos Advocating for a Cease-Fire in Gaza

Cease-Fire in Gaza (Credits: Los Angeles Times)

Colorful keffiyehs, waving Palestinian flags, and passionate chants filled the atmosphere outside El Monte City Hall on Tuesday evening, resembling the fervor of similar gatherings across the United States since Oct. 7.

However, despite the sea of demonstrators, a distinct presence emerged – some wore Mexico’s national soccer team sweatshirts, carrying signs with messages like “From Mexico to Palestine / Border Walls Have to Go.” The scene showcased a unique fusion of solidarity between the Palestinian cause and Latino activism, a trend that has gained momentum over the past six months.

Across Southern California, Latinos have increasingly voiced their support for Palestinians, condemning Israeli military actions and calling for an end to the violence that has claimed thousands of lives, many of whom are women and children.

Gaza war (Credits: BBC)

The escalating conflict between Israel and Palestine has sparked global concern, with over 100 U.S. cities, including progressive strongholds like Seattle and San Francisco, calling for a ceasefire. In Southern California, Latino-majority municipalities such as Pomona and Santa Ana have joined this chorus, with activists urging El Monte to follow suit.

The Spike in Latino Activism Signals a Positive Adaptation in the Traditional Alliance

This surge in Latino activism represents a reasonable adjustment in the traditional alliance between Latinos and Jews, particularly in Eastside communities where they once coexisted.

While historically, they united for political milestones like Edward Roybal’s election as the first Latino city council member in Los Angeles, recent events have strained this bond.

Organizations like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) have long fostered ties between Jews and Latinos, but their efforts face new challenges despite changing attitudes. Reports indicate a decline in Latino support for Israel, citing concerns over perceived power imbalances and human rights violations against Palestinians.

Dr. Alexandro Jose Gradilla, a Chicana and Chicano Studies professor at Cal State Fullerton, attributes this shift to a growing awareness among Latinos, especially in blue-collar cities, of shared experiences of oppression and displacement.

Black and Latino voters are pursuing candidates who want a permanent ceasefire in Gaza (Credits: CBS News)

Meanwhile, an Orange County activist, Rida Hamida has been instrumental in mobilizing Latino-majority city councils to pass resolutions supporting a ceasefire. Through her Latino & Muslim Unity organization, she has facilitated cross-cultural dialogue and advocated for Palestinian rights.

At the El Monte rally, attendees passionately supported the resolution, urging council members to stand on the right side of history. Despite some dissenting voices, the council unanimously voted in favor of the resolution, signaling a good moment in the ongoing struggle for justice and solidarity.

As the meeting adjourned and attendees dispersed, the spirit of unity and activism lingered, a testament to the power of grassroots movements in effecting change and building solidarity across communities.

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