About 100 marchers braved the rain in Morgan Hill today, spurned on by one objective—to get the face of Sierra LaMar out to the public.
Marchers gathered at the Community and Cultural Center before heading down Monterey Street and marching down Main Avenue. The march, dubbed the Sierra LaMar Community March, sought specifically to involve young people under the age of 18 who aren’t permitted to participate in searches for the missing teen.
“I have a passion for youth and it’s important for them to feel like they are contributing,” said Dori Prado, who organized Saturday’s march. “This is a way for the youth to get involved in the search effort and bring attention to the case.”
Prado also used the march to urge parents to take greater responsibility for their own children's safety, and said Sierra is a child of the community and that locals have a responsibility to protect one another.
“We need to look out for each other and each others' children,” she said. “If we see something fishy happening, we need to get involved and not pass it by.”
Marchers were carrying signs with messages that read, “Sierra LaMar, We Love You!” and “Find Sierra” fliers depicting the Sobrato High cheerleader’s photo and description were passed out to attendees. Blown up poster-board-sized fliers were also given to local businesses to place in their windows.
Pink bows, Sierra’s favorite color, adorned trees along the road and marchers wore pink ribbons in tribute to the teen, who was last seen over two weeks ago.
Saturday also saw the largest volunteer turnout for search parties yet, according to a KTVU article. .
As marchers chanted, “bring Sierra home!” passing cars honked in solidarity. Several community members stood on the corner of Monterey Street and W. Dunne Avenue with a collection box to gather donations from drivers to add to the, which was created to help the LaMar family cover search-and-rescue costs and create a reward for information leading to Sierra's recovery.
Marchers, Kyla Redmond, 15, and Mariah Ross, 16, who used to cheer on the same all-star team as Sierra, said they came from San Jose to help in the efforts to keep their teammate in the public’s eye.
“We’re still in shock,” Ross said of her friend’s disappearance.
“It’s hard to believe that she’s not at her house,” Redmond added. “We want to bring more attention to her face and hopefully someone will recognize her.”
Michelle Hernandez, a Gilroy resident whose parents apparently live down the street from the LaMar home, brought her 17-year-old daughter, Sarah, to deliver a message to those who might want to abduct young people.
“We are here to bring awareness to these perpetrators who think they can get away with taking our children,” she said. “The community has had enough.”
Hernandez said she believes the strong turnout of marchers sends a message to would-be child abductors that parents and children are watching, and will not live in fear of them.
“This is our area,” she said. “These are our kids and we’re not going to let them take them from us.”