Forum Canceled on Border Project

Jessie Mangaliman, San Jose Mercury News, Sept. 8

A public forum scheduled next week at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose on the controversial Minuteman Project was canceled Wednesday, after angry Latino community leaders and immigrant advocates objected to the planned appearance of Chris Simcox, Minuteman’s organizer.

Calling the self-appointed, citizen border patrol a “racist hate group,” valley Mexican-American leaders said they took offense to Minuteman in the community’s cultural home, on Sept. 16, Mexican Independence Day.

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“This vigilante group is openly racist particularly to Latinos,” said Lucy Hernandez, a member of Comite de Cesar Chavez, a San Jose civil rights group, and one of 14 people who met last week with Marcela Davison Aviles, the plaza’s executive director.

Said Hernandez, “Knowing the background of this group and have them come to our community home, especially on our day of celebration, was offensive and hurtful.”

But Aviles said the event was canceled at the plaza because of “strong safety concerns” raised by the group she met with last Thursday. Aviles said she received at least a dozen anonymous phone calls since then that threatened disruption to the plaza.

During her meeting with Hernandez and others, Aviles said, “They indicated that if the plaza proceeded with the event, it was highly likely—I’m paraphrasing here—there would be a large crowd and they wouldn’t be able to guarantee the consequences of their behavior.”

Aviles said she worried about the safety of people participating in the forum.

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E-mail the Mexican Heritage Plaza: [email protected]

E-mail the Mayor of San Jose, Ron Gonzales: [email protected]

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