May Day, Reinvigorated to Fight Trump's Anti-Immigrant Policies
May 1, traditionally a day of action for the labor movement, is ramping up to be the next and possibly biggest of many large-scale days of anti-Trump actions, including a massive immigrant-led strike.
On April 4, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "Beyond Vietnam" speech, in which he demanded that the country "undergo a radical revolution of values,” a coalition of Movement for Black Lives and a group called the Majority announced a nationwide day of action on May 1. More than 50 organizations representing Black Lives Matter, women's rights, immigrants, the environment, laborers, LGBTQ groups and much more got on board.
As announced on the Movement for Black Lives' website BeyondTheMoment.org, "We will strike, rally and resist. Our aim is to build a mighty movement of all people dedicated to freedom. That means we don’t deny our differences, we embrace them and build a movement bold, broad and big enough to include our many realities."
Participating organizations, including 350.org, the Women's March, United We Dream, and Mijente, among others, have compiled organizing toolkits available for free on their websites, hosted multiple planning conference calls for participants all over the country, and created an event locator to help prospective protesters find events in their area.
Many of these protests, rallies, marches and additional direct actions are centered around and will coordinate with the second Day Without Immigrants, which as AlterNet previously reported is organized by Movimiento Cosecha, a national immigrants' rights group that has been planning the nationwide strike for months. The campaign site explains, "On May 1st, we will not go to work, we will not go to school and we will not buy. We are going to make it clear that this country cannot function without immigrants."
In addition to Cosecha, the immigrant strike is "backed by a network of over 300,000 farmworkers, servers, cooks and food-manufacturers, including a large local chain of the Service Employees International Union," and the Food Chain Workers Alliance.
The goal is to show just how much American businesses rely on immigrant labor to keep the economy running. As the organizers said in a statement, "We need to show this administration, Congress and large corporate interests that our human and economic worth is more powerful than their agenda of hate and greed. Opposing Trump is not enough. We must stop him."
“We understand that there’s risk involved in [striking],” David Huerta, president of a powerful California branch of the SEIU, told Buzzfeed News, “but we’re willing to take that risk in order to be able to move forward in this moment, while the most marginalized are in the crosshairs of this administration.”
Events are planned nationwide. In Houston, Texas, workers and allies will gather and wear red for a morning rally and march. In California (Oakland, San Francisco and Sacramento), there are multiple marches occurring throughout the day and even after 5pm, for those unable to strike during work hours. Also on the West Coast, in Vancouver, Washington, local chapters of the ACLU and Indivisible groups are meeting for a march and rally, also after the workday. Even deep-red Arkansas is hosting multiple events, including rallies in Little Rock, Rogers and Portsmouth, which as the Guardian points out, have large immigrant populations.
In New York City, thousands of people will converge near City Hall for speeches by Women's March organizer and Palestinian American activist Linda Sarsour, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, labor leaders, and New York City elected officials, as well as DACA recipients and other undocumented New Yorkers at risk under the current administration.