By Ivan Cazares and Megan G. Razzetti
The South Gym’s floor was filled with Hillary Clinton supporters Thursday while an estimated 200 protesters gathered on Avenida Cesar Chavez. There were many people waiting in line who didn’t make it into the rally. It was the Democratic Presidential Candidate’s 11th visit to the Los Angeles area since the start of her campaign.
The former Secretary of State spoke to her supporters about the importance of education and what she referred to as “the fight for comprehensive immigration reform.”
Clinton pushed her position on equal pay for women and paid family leave.
“We’re also going to follow California’s lead and make sure we have paid family leave for working families,” she said. “ I will do everything I can to make the economy work for everybody, to help more people lift themselves out of poverty, lift themselves into the middle class and go as far as their hard work and talents will take them.”
Among the attendees, members of the ELAC community were in attendance to show support for Clinton.
“I’m so excited that she’s (Clinton) is on the campus where I’m teaching,” ELAC French professor Rebecca Ebin said. “I’ve been working here for 10 years and this is the biggest event on a national level that has happened during my time here.”
Ebin explained her reasons for supporting Clinton are due to her thoughts on the importance of education.
“Of course I want free tuition at the community colleges,” Ebin said. “I feel Hilary shares those views.”
Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti was among the speakers at the event. “This isn’t about building walls, it’s about building bridges,” Garcetti said.
Garcetti and other speakers emphasized a united front against Trump. Clinton criticized Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump on his stance on immigration. She called him a “loose cannon” and someone who should not be in the Oval Office.
“I don’t want a president that is obsessed with the size of his hands. I want a president that is obsessed with the size of our middle class,” Garcetti said. The hand comment is a reference to an exchange of crude comments between Trump and Republican Marco Rubio about each other’s reproductive organs.
Garcetti also said Clinton was the candidate to elect to improve the country’s education system and infrastructure. He said electing Clinton could help complete the eastside extension of the Metro Gold Line and could help provide Los Angeles Unified School District graduates with free community college.
Los Angeles Valley College student, Yamilex Rustrian, 20, introduced Clinton before she took the stage. Rustrian shared her personal experiences growing up undocumented and fearful that her family would be separated by deportation.
She also stressed the importance of voting and how undocumented students can have their voices heard in the upcoming election.
“I think it’s the power of telling our stories, we’ve gone through so much struggle,” Rustrian said. “I was bullied when I was little, it took me a while to learn English, but you have to take that struggle, the struggle that we live through and share it and make other students that are able to vote see the privilege they have.”
Some protesters attempted to disrupt Clinton’s speech. The Secret Service and Montebello police intervened and escorted them out of the event.
Californians will vote in a partially closed primary on June, 7.