Militant Journalism

Anti-racists demand ‘Justice for Joel’ in Mt. Vernon, Wa.

Breaking update: Trevor McCabe was sentenced in a plea deal on Thursday, July 15. He pleaded guilty to three felonies and was sentenced to 11 and a half years. In an emotional hearing, before announcing the sentence, Judge Thomas Verge listened to a written statement from Joel Salgado’s mother, Rocio Linares, read in translation by a victim support services worker; a statement given by Joel’s sister, Nancy Linares, and a text from Joel Salgoado sent to and read by the prosecuting attorney. Both the judge and prosecutor acknowledged the community support for Joel Salgado in their remarks.

On July 10, as many as 100 concerned community members showed up on the steps of the Skagit County Courthouse in Mount Vernon, Wash., calling on District Attorney Rich Weyrich to “Do the right thing!” in the case of Trevor McCabe’s vicious ambush attack on the Latino teenager Joel Salgado. As previously reported in Liberation News, the DA refuses to charge McCabe with a hate crime in this case.

The crowd started gathering at 11 a.m. and engaged in spirited chanting in English and Spanish for more than an hour. They carried signs displaying messages that included the following “Justice for Joel Salgado,” “DA Weyrich: Do the right thing” and “This was a hate crime.” Showing their support for Joel and his family, community members also carried signs reading, “Salgado Strong!” The ethnically diverse crowd ranged in age from children in strollers to elders.

At noon, there was a short program where the first person to speak was Rocio Linares, Joel Salgado’s mother. She spoke in Spanish and thanked the crowd for showing all the support for her son. Alex Perez translated Rocio’s remarks into English and was the next speaker. He called on the crowd to come together and create the change we need.  

Matt Uyeno, one of the main organizers, called on the crowd to build community to fight for social justice in the more rural areas of Washington state. “We need to build a network where we can stand up against injustice!”  

Julio Reyes, another event organizer, said that the story of Joel just broke his heart. He said, “We need justice for Joel … if we come together and fight as a community, we will win.”

Carlos Osorio, representing Party for Socialism and Liberation on the Olympic Peninsula explained that the national Movement for Black Lives that erupted again after the murder of George Floyd made it possible to organize for racial justice and against brutality in the more rural areas. “Community solidarity is what gives us security and makes us feel safe,” then repeating his remarks in Spanish. Also speaking was Jane Cutter of PSL-Seattle, who urged everyone to make the struggle against racism a priority: “This fight is for everyone!” 

The last speaker was Juan Maldonado. Speaking in Spanish, he pointed out that justice is not equally applied in the United States and we must raise our voices and speak out against inequality.

Marchers at the Riverfront Park next to the Farmers’ Market. Liberation Photo: Andrew Freeman.

The crowd then marched to the Mount Vernon Farmers Market. Some of the chants included, “No justice, no peace,” and “Que queremos? justicia!  Cuando? Ahora!” At the Farmers Market, speakers addressed the shoppers, asking them to get involved in the fight for justice. A volunteer went among the shoppers and collected contact information. 

The unified message of the rally was the need to unite and create a community to be safe from racist attacks. If we unite as a community and struggle for justice, we can win. An injury to one is an injury to all.  

Joel Salgado was seriously injured in the attack. To make a donation to help out his family, you can use Venmo or Cashapp to make a donation; send to GrumpyMoe and add “Salgado Family” as the note.  

Feature image: Rocio Linares, Joel Salgado’s mother, on the mic in front of the Skagit County Courthouse, July 10.

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