Parent plans counter-rally to Patriots’ American flag rally for Cinco de Mayo

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Five TV news vans park in front of Live Oak High School Thursday

Update: Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patriots President Georgine Scott-Codiga said the May 5 flag run being promoted on the patriotaction.net website is not being organized by the Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patriots. Her group has only organized a “peaceful” rally for the morning of May 5. She also wanted to make clear that violent images and/or statements being shared by others were not made or written by the Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patriots.
House of Thunder Harley Davidson owner Dan Stern confirmed that the House of Thunder has no affiliation with the Patriots guard or any other political group and is not sponsoring any events. Stern said his shop will be closed on May 5 and nobody is authorized to use the parking lot to assemble for a rally.
One Morgan Hill parent has taken to Facebook to gather momentum for a counter May 5 rally with a message of unity among all in response to the Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patriots’ Cinco de Mayo American flag rally planned in front of Live Oak High School.
Morgan Hill resident Juan Lopez, a 46-year-old local attorney, said he set up the Facebook account Wethepeople MH to “unify” the community after reading many hateful message board comments on the Patriots’ website. Lopez is now promoting his own community rally that he’s calling a “Unity, Respect and Peace” rally.
“I needed to get the word out there—social media is a way to bring people together,” Lopez said. “My concern is the safety of the kids.”
The Live Oak High School parent said he plans to voice his concerns about the Patriots’ rally to the Morgan Hill Unified School Board during the April 15 Board of Education meeting at 6 p.m.
Lopez said, while he respects the Constitutional rights to peacefully assemble and wave the American flag, the venue chosen by the Patriots – in front of LOHS at the time students will be arriving and leaving school – is “inappropriate.”
Patriots’ President Georgine Scott-Codiga, however, said her group’s rally will be peaceful and non-disruptive to school. She said the reason for assembling in front of LOHS is to make a statement that they do not agree with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that LOHS officials took proper action on that fateful 2010 Cinco de Mayo.
According to Lopez, one rally will start at 7:30 a.m., another at 2:30 p.m., coinciding with what the Patriots have planned.
“We The People MH want to spread unity, respect and peace among all Americans! Everyone is welcome,” the post read. “Come wave your flag with us. No one will be turned away. This is a day to say no to hate, prejudice and discrimination! It’s a day to celebrate what makes America great: diversity and freedom!”
Lopez instructed the 83 followers to contact Morgan Hill Mayor Steve Tate, Morgan Hill Unified School District Superintendent Steve Betando, Police Chief David Swing and school board trustees with concerns over allowing the American flag rally in front of the local high school.
“We should be very concerned, and so should the Mayor, the Police Chief, the Superintendent, the board of trustees and all parents with kids at Live Oak High School,” read the most recent April 13 post.
Patriot picketing
The Patriots routinely picket in downtown Morgan Hill to publicly express their views. On their website, the 94-member group stated that it stands for “fiscal responsibility at all levels of government, limited government, adherence to the United States Constitution and educating others and us about our history and our government.”
Court progress
Early last month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2011 federal judge’s ruling affirming that Live Oak High School officials acted properly when they asked four former LOHS students to remove or turn inside-out their American flag T-shirts on the 2010 Cinco de Mayo holiday. The same administrators sent the boys home after refusing to do so.
Former LOHS principal Nick Boden and former assistant principal Miguel Rodriguez—neither currently with the district—said they were concerned about the potential for violence on campus.
Four years later, the Ninth Circuit Court’s ruling has prompted the Patriots to organize a rally in front of LOHS to demonstrate their disapproval of the school officials’ actions on that day.
District officials react
District officials have said no incidents occurred on campus during the three Cinco de Mayo holidays following the 2010 altercation. Two of those years, the Mexican holiday fell over the weekend. This year, Cinco de Mayo falls on a Monday, a regular school day.

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