The Stand

May Day: Respect us, protect us, pay us

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By AMRINE WHITE


(May 5, 2022) — Last Sunday the voices of community members and workers alike filled the streets of Seattle: “This is what democracy looks like…Say it loud, say it clear: Immigrants are welcome here… What do we do when undocumented lives are under attack? Stand up, fight back!”

This year’s May Day was a day of community, solidarity, and intersectionality for the many groups that took to the streets to voice their concerns for the inequitable and intolerable policies pushed forward by governments and businesses globally. Present organizations included Casa Latina, the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, the Movement for People’s Democracy, Rise Up for Abortion Rights, Labor for Black Lives, the Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, El Comite, Veterans for Peace, and MLK Labor.

Photo by Henry Nguyen

Their shared demands were wide ranging: greater support for worker’s rights and safety, the right to organize, cancellation of rental debt and evictions, a fully funded public health system, a stop to the sweeps throughout Seattle, and an end to white supremacy and economic inequality.

At the forefront of this year’s march was one overarching demand: immigration reform and migrant justice for all. May Day sponsors, El Comite and the May First Action Coalition, acknowledged the great strides forward in immigrant justice since Trump’s presidency in 2021 and the incredible organizing efforts on behalf of Starbucks, Skagit Valley’s Tulip Farm Workers, and Amazon over the past few months.

However, they showed a need for further action: “2021 was a year to remember for all of us, regardless of gender, religion, immigration status, or national origin. Even though we have a new president, we still face the same crises affecting our communities–government and corporate repression of activists and immigrant workers…Today, Native, Black, Asian, Latinx, and Immigrants continue to suffer brutal and cowardly attacks from white supremacist and racist state forces, such as police and ICE… We must follow the lead of migrant workers and be steadfast in challenging the present system.”

Photo by Henry Nguyen

Marchers had the opportunity to hear from Rigo Valdez (MLK Labor), Nikkita Oliver, Ken Workman, Claude Laude (RISE), and Tye Reed (House Our Neighbors), among others, throughout the 3-hour walk from Judkins Park to Westlake Center downtown. Filipino organization BAYAN and Micheal Alcantara from the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines took the time to highlight global intersectionality with calls for democracy and socialism in the Philippines.

On May Day 2022 we, the people united, left our houses and came together on the streets to fight for justice for all.

Our work does not end here. If you were unable to make it to the May Day march this year, or would like to get more involved in immigrant justice and social reform in 2022, organizations including The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, El Comite, BAYAN, Casa Latina, Familias Unidas Por La Justicia, and the Coalition of Immigrants, Refugees and Communities of Color invite you to reach out and learn more about how you can be an advocate for reform.

 


Amrine White is a Race & Labor Intern with the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. The Building a Movement Labor Internship is a paid internship program that connects undergraduate students at the University of Washington with the local labor movement, through partnerships with community organizations engaged with this work on a variety of levels. The WSLC Race & Labor program is committed to racial and economic justice inside the labor movement and in our communities.

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