May Day Marches Bring Voices Out

May Day 2017 in San José, CA began at the Mexican Heritage Plaza on Monday May 1st, 2017. Photo Credit: Arturo Hilario

Thousands gather to voice their support for immigrants, workers

Arturo Hilario
El Observador

May Day” for the year 2017 was unique because it brought all of the anxieties of the first 100 days of the new Trump Administration to the forefront. Immigration, economy, and employment were all key ingredients to why and how thousands across the region and world marched.

Here in the Bay Area, San Francisco, Oakland, and San José were some of the cities which showcased the largest gatherings to support May Day, or Labor Day as it is known across the world.

In San José the HQ for the march on Monday was the Mexican Heritage Plaza off Alum Rock and King Road. The pre-march activities and gathering of people began around noon as a celebration of diversity and support as people of all ages and colors gathered to sing, rap, and speak their opinions about what the march meant to them. Some took to the stage to sing protest songs, others poetic jabs at the current White House. Some not as awash in poetry and straight to the point.

One group brought a menacing looking worm with the face and arms of President Trump, carrying it above them like a traditional dragon from Chinese New Years festivities, minus the respectable imagery those dragons give off. People took to the creation, taking selfies with it for a good while before the march began.

Out in full force where the various unions, handing out shirts and signs for support of both their employees in general and specifically those that are undocumented.

The focus for this May Day was channeled through the signs strewn around, which read things like, “WE STAND WITH TESLA WORKERS IN GERMANY”, “BLACK WORKER JUSTICE”, “¡DERECHOS REPRODUCTIVOS SON DERECHOS HUMANOS!” (“Reproductive rights are human rights!”), and “Immigrant Women Rising”. What can be finalized from the different groups attending was that there were more than enough reasons to march on Monday.

Beginning at around 3:30pm the group, led by a flatbed truck carrying drummers who kept a rhythm going, began its journey from the Alum Rock down through Santa Clara Street where they would eventually end at a rally by SAP Center, 3 miles from their starting point. By 4:30pm the march was passing San José City Hall, with many employees and onlookers snapping photos and those on the street cheering.

A group held up a paper “Alternative Wall”, peppered with many of the noteworthy phrases and quotes from the Trump administration and their supporters, such as “Bad Hombres” and “3 million illegal voters” written across it. Soon enough, people went at it with sticks to break it down.

As a movement, this May Day march proved that people can use their voices, their numbers and their local community to provide a base for protesting the current agenda and mind frame of the Trump Administration, which is becoming increasingly anti-immigrant.