On May 1st, people from communities all over the country commemorated International Workers’ Day to call for fair and equitable reform to the immigration system. There were rallies in many major cities, including Washington DC. I went down to the rally with Poonam, our intern. Being at the march was an amazing experience. Walking down 14th Street, where mounted police shut down one direction of traffic to accommodate the crowd, surrounded by community members and advocates, was a singular experience. I didn’t participate in the immigration reform rallies in 2006 and 2007 so this was my first time getting the May Day experience. The mood was overwhelmingly positive with the speakers at Lafayette Park acknowledging the difficulties that community members encounter as part of the broken immigration system but ultimately focusing on how communities-of-color can work together to push for reform. I used one of our nifty new Flips to capture some of the sights and sounds of the rally, below you can check out a quick video featuring some inspiring words from Rev. Hagler of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ:
Today, May 1st, also known as May Day, is a celebration of the struggles of workers around the world. May Day is celebrated all around the world, and today, across the United States, folks are encouraged to take to the streets in rallies that acknowledge the struggles of immigrant workers. The rallies will also sound a cry for the importance of immigration reform – a series of legislative and administrative changes that can fix the broken immigration system. For workers of all immigration statuses, the need for immigration reform is critical. H‑1B workers have no job portability and often wait years in order to receive green cards. Guestworkers who are here on temporary, H‑2B visas have very little worker protections and find themselves in vulnerable situations that can be exploited by unscrupulous employers. Watch this video clip from the American News Project to learn more about the Indian guestworkers in the Gulf Coast who spent two years highlighting the exploitation they endured.
Then, head out to one of the immigration rallies this afternoon in your city –visit www.anewdayforimmigration.org for information on May Day marches and rallies.