Prop. 187 forced a generation to put fear aside and fight. It transformed California, and me

1994 protest at Plaza Park in Oxnard
Students from various high schools skip classes and gather in Plaza Park in Oxnard to protest Proposition 187 on Oct. 28, 1994.
(Bruce K. Huff / Los Angeles Times)

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Gustavo Arellano is a features writer for the Los Angeles Times, covering Southern California everything and a bunch of the West and beyond. He previously worked at OC Weekly, where he was an investigative reporter for 15 years and editor for six, wrote a column called ¡Ask a Mexican! and is the author of “Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America.” He’s the child of two Mexican immigrants, one of whom came to this country in the trunk of a Chevy.