FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) – This week marks the 25th anniversary of Proposition 187, an initiative that aimed to prevent undocumented immigrants from getting access to things such as health care and public education.
Fresno community activist Stan Santos recalls the events that led to November 1994.
“At that time, our community was just waking up in a sense,” Santos said.
Santos was one of the activists who participated in the protests against Prop 187 in Fresno.
“We were the ones that were out in the street corners with signs, trying to get the attention, educate the public,” he said.
The year 1994 saw the rise of student activism as they marched the streets, attempting to dissuade voters from supporting Prop 187.
“People were shocked by this initiative,” Santos said.
Most of the protests occurred in Southern California, but Santos said Fresno played a key role in the discussion.
“Fresno is the heartland of oppression, I consider it to be one of the focus points because we have such a large agricultural industry,” he said. “We have two extremes, extreme wealth and extreme poverty in Fresno.”
According to a timeline created by the Los Angeles Times, Fresno State University was where high school and college students gathered to discuss ways to organize against the proposition.
The initiative was supported by Gov. Pete Wilson and passed by a 59 to 41 percent margin However, lawsuits prevented it from going into effect and it was eventually declared unconstitutional.
“We continued, we never gave up,” Santos said.