100 ORGANIZATIONS UNIFY-- The May Day Coalition of Los Angeles, a network of more than 100 organizations, held one of the nation's largest May 1 marches in resistance, unity, and defiance of efforts by the current administration to curtail, weaken, or take away basic rights and freedoms for most Americans, with the exception of the one percent at the top.
The May 1 march began at 11 a.m. at MacArthur Park located in the Pico/Union-Westlake district just west of Downtown Los Angeles. A rally kicked things off before the march began at 12 noon, where it moved east on Wilshire Blvd. towards downtown Los Angeles. Marchers joined thousands congregating at Pershing Square where the Women's March of Los Angeles had assembled a host of civic engagement booths, performers, and speakers. The march concluded with a massive program and rally in front of Los Angeles City Hall on Grand Park.
Families, workers, immigrants, students, women, LGBTQ community, Muslims, people from all ethnic backgrounds, and anyone who supports justice, fairness, compassion, and equality, joined the peaceful and family-friendly march.
During the program, several speakers from labor and the community spoke out against hateful rhetoric and policies attacking the nation's most vulnerable.
"We are at a crossroads. We are living in a moment when we should be asking of ourselves, what kind of country do we want to have? Most Americans are concerned their freedoms and liberties, even their well-being, health, education, and air we breathe, is threatened under this administration. We are joining today in resistance and every day after this as long as it takes to bring balance to the body politic. Our lives are not dispensable. Our families are not dispensable. Our future is not dispensable. We will prevail because we are this country and this country is us," said Angelica Salas, CHIRLA Executive Director.
"America is fueled by the contributions of workers and immigrants who keep our nation afloat. Together, we are sending one clear message to the current administration: Our determination will stop deportation. Our feet will overcome any tweet. And our vision for what America should be will overpower Trump's division," said Rusty Hicks, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.
"May Day is a day for working people to stand up and fight together to improve our lives. Everyone that came out today let the Trump administration know that we don't believe in policies that are governed by hatred, racism and cruelty. Immigrants, Black & Brown People and people of varying backgrounds and nationalities, LGBTQ Communities, women, and our Muslim brothers & sisters are such an important part of the fabric of America and should be celebrated for their contributions to our country. We are building solidarity ac ross difference and uniting in our resistance!" said David Huerta, President of SEIU United Service Workers West.
"Immigrants have always been leaders of the struggles for worker's rights - from the fight for an 8-hour work day, to finally achieving overtime pay for farm workers in California last year. The housekeepers, restaurant workers, and other members of UNITE HERE are proudly marching today for all races, all religions and all workers," said Maria Elena Durazo, General Vice President for UNITE HERE International Union.
"SEIU Local 99 members march today to protect students and their families. We will resist anything that creates chaos and fear in our centers of learning. We want schools to be 'Safe Zones.' We want children to feel valued. When deportation tactics are this chaotic, frightened parents sometimes pull their children out of school. This harms children's education, lowers our school districts' enrollment, which in turn affects these districts' budgets. No one wins," said Max Arias, Executive Director of SEIU Local 99.
"On May Day, when WE resist together we honor the intersection of our identity as immigrants and descendants of immigrants and we honor the diversity of our communities. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer identified community includes immigrants, survivors, dreamers, college students, professionals and entrepreneurs. The LGBTQ community supports labor, immigrant and racial justice because those issues affect us too!" stated Ari Gutiérrez, Co-Founder and Advisory Board President of the Latino Equality Alliance. "Including the safety and dignity of our LGBTQ community in our advocacy for immigration, employment and other policies must be a priority in our common struggle for equality, equity and justice. We must RESIST together and ALL of us for each other!" she added.
"I'm marching today because my coworkers and I will never give up on our struggle to win dignity, respect, and a fair union contract at El Super, and I'm also marching because as hard working people, we contribute to America's economy and well-being and we deserve to be treated as human beings not as scapegoats of failed economic and immigration policies," said Fermin Rodriguez, a cashier at the El Super grocery store in Los Angeles, CA and member of UFCW Local 770.
"In this time of crisis and resistance, when so many of our students and their families are threatened by the racist rhetoric and inhumane policies coming out of Washington, and as the Trump/DeVos privatization agenda threatens our public schools, we will join our communities to fight for immigrant rights as well as economic, social and educational justice on May 1. Together, we demonstrate there is strength in numbers and power in solidarity. Together, we will resist," said Alex Caputo-Pearl, President of UTLA.
"American workers and immigrants are being steamrolled by a President who's hell-bent on enriching the world's most powerful special interests. In an economy that's already tilted in favor of the wealthy and the powerful, Donald Trump's massive giveaways to corporations and the rich will exacerbate this dangerous inequality even further. It's time to fight for a just America where workers are protected, immigrants are treated with justice and dignity, and the wealthy pay their fair share," said Tom Steyer, NextGen Climate President.
"In a Country founded by immigrants, we are a City of immigrants," said LA City Councilmember José Huizar. "We stand with our immigrant community as family, as friends and as partners in the critically important economic engine that is the Southern California region. We don't need hateful rhetoric or the dividing of families through deportation out of Washington D.C. On this May Day, we renew our vow to President Trump for a solution that works for all: comprehensive immigration reform - now."
(This report furnished by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO.)