Thousands Turn Out Nationwide to Mark May Day in Solidarity with Immigrants, Launch Unity Summer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Thousands Turn Out Nationwide to Mark May Day in Solidarity with Immigrants, Launch Unity Summer

 (WASHINGTON)—Immigrants, progressive allies and working people across the country turned out today to mark May 1st with rallies, marches, vigils, protests and work stoppages. Nationally, FIRM groups held more than two dozen events in 15 states to launch the network’s Unity Summer campaign to bring people together to fight the administration’s cruel and blatantly racist attacks on communities of color, and flip the House in November.

“Historically, May 1st is a day when immigrants, labor, racial justice and progressive allies come together to celebrate immigrants and the contributions we make to workplaces and society,” said FIRM spokesperson Sulma Arias. “This year we focused on uniting our communities, reminding us of our power and build towards what’s to come in November.”

“For more than 15 months our communities have faced unprecedented attacks by an administration that is committed to making America white again. Yet, we remain resilient and continue to fight together to make sure our country is one that is inclusive, not exclusive; to ensure we all have the opportunity to thrive and fulfill our dreams—regardless of where we were born, or the color of our skin.”

FIRM’s largest events were held in Los Angeles, New York City, Wisconsin and Chicago. Actions also took place in Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

In Los Angeles, 50 organizations joined together as the May Day Coalition and expected thousands of people to gather for a march and rally, that kicked off from the Immigration Family Court Building. CHIRLA was part of a large coalition of immigrant rights, labor, faith and other groups.

In Chicago, thousands of participants marched and rallied to defend DACA and call on legislators to pass the DREAM Act.

In New York City, participants came together in solidarity and safety, uniting with faith and labor to say “we are partners in power.” Make the Road New York and the New York Immigration Coalition were leaders in organizing the rally that convened at Washington Square Park.

In a separate action, Make the Road New York mobilized against the Corporate Backers of Hate, the top private prison companies to protest their role in expanding immigrant detention centers and tearing families apart.

In Waukesha, Wisconsin close to 10,000 people participated in a day without Latinx and immigrants as they marched to stop Waukesha Sheriff Severson’s application to the harmful 287g program. People gathered in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Racine, Wausau, Sheboygan, and Manitowoc before bussing to Waukesha. More than 100 small businesses remained closed for the day in a show of solidarity with immigrants.

Lawrence Benito, Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), and one of FIRM’s co-chairs, said, “We need to stand together and declare that immigrant rights are worker rights and human rights. We need to stand up against those who seek to divide, degrade, and disempower us, and to fight for dignity and respect for all workers and all families. Let’s recommit to fight for a country that is inclusive, and push back hard against the constant barrage of federal policies that try to break up our families and divide our country further.”

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FIRM Admin