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3/30 El Paso, TX: Fliers, notes help organize students
Released 31 March 2006  By Erica Molina Johnson - El Paso Times

Fliers, notes help organize students
Erica Molina Johnson
El Paso Times
Thursday, March 30, 2006

Ruby Rios was in English class this week when she heard about the plans for a student walkout to protest proposed changes to immigration law.

"I had a note passed to me in class," the Jefferson High School senior said as she marched along Paisano Drive.

Jefferson junior Daisy Amiliano said that she heard about the immigration proposals through the news media, but that she didn't consider voicing her disapproval until she saw a flier at school.

"I think a girl was passing them out," said Amiliano, 16.

Students said they aren't allowed to use their cell phones during school hours, so many relied on fliers and word of mouth to organize their campuses.

"Friends told friends who told friends who told friends," said Martha Godinez, a Jefferson freshman.

Juan Chavez, a Jefferson student graduating this semester in an abbreviated three-year program, said he also found out about the plans through a flier circulated around the campus.

"There were a lot of copies being passed around," he said as he walked from Downtown back toward his campus. "And yesterday (Tuesday) the principal was on the announcements saying, 'If you walk out, you will face the consequences.' "

Rios, 17, said the announcement might have had unintended results.

"I think it really helped," she said. "Most people didn't know about it until the administration said it."

Students said the walkout was not much of a secret.

"Students were talking to people at the cafeteria and at lunch," said Alejandra Godinez, a Jefferson senior, who helped spread the word.

Along the march, students from various schools kept in contact by cell phone to coordinate and meet.

Phillip Salazar, an Irvin High School junior, said he received a text message on his cell phone from friends planning a similar walkout for later this week.

"It said, 'Walk out of class at 10:50 this Friday in protest for Mexicans. If you don't do it, you're not a true Mexican. Pass it on to other Mexicans,' " said Salazar, who doesn't plan to participate. "I think a lot of them just want to get out of class."

Erica Molina Johnson may be reached at; 546-6132.

El Paso Times reporter Tammy Fonce-Olivas contributed to this story.

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