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Benicia event aims to celebrate community, bring awareness to dangerous ‘La Migra' game

People gathered in Benicia Saturday for a community celebration and to draw attention to a troubling annual tradition played by some teenagers. It’s a chase and capture game called “La Migra.”

The event was called Fiestas Primavera and it took place at Benicia City Park.

“The main purpose of this is because they are very concerned about a game called La Migra,” said Mario Saucedo.

Both police and school leaders in the area have issued warnings about it.

“Freshman kids from high school pretend they are ICE agents,” Saucedo said.

The district said the event involves older students chasing younger students through the city, trying to catch them.

Monica Gomez knows how dangerous it can be. In 2022, her teenage son and his friend were walking out of a downtown ice cream shop and shot multiple times with ice pellets. One of the pellets narrowly missed her son’s eye.

“Subsequently, we found out that this was stemmed from a traditional game called La Migra, that happens here in this community. So, there was some derogatory and racial slurs prior to the kids prior to being shot at,” she said.

Organizers of Saturday’s event say they want to put and to this game in the community.

“What we’re trying to do is just bring some education and understanding into the community. Some cultural diversity in the hopes that we can eradicate this we are calling for “zero tolerance,’”Gomez said. “We held a town hall in 2022, demanding zero tolerance for these kind of racist and violent games in our community.”

The morning rain didn’t put too much of a damper on the event that also featured vendors, art, food and music.

“It’s fun to see what’s different and what’s the same and just foster that appreciation for other culture,” said Benica resident Jill Johnson.

“Glad to see the community support behind this. Last year, the school district the city and the Benicia police department, we partnered together to just bring awareness,” said Damon Wright, Superintendent of the Benicia Unified School District.

Wright said they have been putting out messaging for the last year and half to bring education and awareness to the cultural insensitivity.

“It’s just something that just really goes against what we stand for as an organization and we just want to bring awareness to try and get it to stop,” he said.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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