March for Immigration Reform Gets Lost in Health Care Frenzy, Except for Ethnic Media

New York newspapers reflect different accounts of what happened Sunday in D.C.

New York's El Diario/La Prensa and Daily News reflect different views of what happened Sunday in D.C.

If a demonstration takes place in D.C. and nobody pays attention, did it happen?

On Sunday, many Americans were following the climax of a yearlong push to pass an historic health care overhaul, as a series of House votes dragged into the late evening. Even more Americans may have been glued to their TVs watching another climactic battle on the basketball court.

At the same time, over 100,000 people –even 200,000, activists claim– demonstrated for immigration reform on The Mall in Washington, including figures ranging from popular L.A. radio host Eddie “Piolín” Sotelo to Rev. Jesse Jackson.

That night and the next morning, the accounts of history being made in Washington varied wildly depending on if you were looking at Spanish-language media or mainstream outlets.  In English-language media the march received scant attention, but it was the main story in the Hispanic press, which considered it as history-making and important as the drive to give Americans near-universal health care for the first time ever.

New York’s El Diario/La Prensa called the demonstration a “mega-march” on its Monday cover and headlined its main story, “They come back victorious.”

On the West Coast, L.A.’s La Opinión (which belongs to the same parent company, ImpreMedia,) noted that President Barack Obama made a surprise appearance at the demonstration through a videotaped message.

Correspondent Antonieta Cádiz wrote,

There was a bit of skepticism, even among some organizers who preferred to talk about 50,000 instead of 100,000 people attending. But the doubts started disappearing when the white shirts began to fill the area of The Mall since the early morning.”

After the march, Univisión reported,

“The faces changed, the spirits rose and more importantly the hopes that immigration reform will pass were renovated in the hundreds of thousands of people who marched toward the National Mall.”

The march did not seem to make many front pages in the U.S. –at least not in prominent locations–, but it did in Mexico.

Mexico City’s El Universal ran an aerial photo of the demonstration on its cover. Correspondent J. Jaime Hernández reported that demonstrators in D.C. sang:¡Barack Obama, basta de bla, bla, bla, queremos reforma migratoria ya, ya, ya!” (“Barack Obama, enough with the yadda yadda, we want immigration reform now, now, now!”)

After Obama’s message, Mexican newspaper La Jornada reported, Florida activist María Rodríguez said from the podium: “Words are nice, but wind can blow them away. We want action.”

AboutDiego Graglia
Diego Graglia is a bilingual multimedia journalist who has worked at major media outlets in the U.S. and Latin America. He is currently the editor-in-chief at Expansion, Meixco’s leading business magazine.