31 May Day March - LA Wilshire
On May Day immigrants and their supporters filled the streets of Los Angeles
twice in one day -- a huge march downtown, and another through the Wilshire
district's Miracle Mile. There were so many people that those participating
said they were sin numero -- uncountable. Marchers of all races and nationalities
protested the bills in Congress that would criminalize 12 million undocumented
people, build a wall between the US and Mexico, set up guest worker programs,
allow indefinite detention and drive from their jobs those without papers.
They called for amnesty -- permanent residence visas which would give
the undocumented immediate legal status and rights -- and equality --
opposing second-class status as temporary or guest workers. They carried
thousands of American flags, chanting Aqui Estamos y No Nos Vamos! --
We're Here, and We're not Leaving! Hundreds of thousands of immigrants
had taken off work or school to come to the marches, and refrained from
buying anything, to show their economic importance. Even the LA Metro
let marchers on for free. March organizer Nativo Lopez, president of the
Mexican American Political Association and the Hermandad Nacional Mexicana,
said "on May 1st immigrant workers demonstrated their power in the
national immigration debate. Their absence from workplaces, schools and
stores sent a powerful message that that they will not be shut out of
this discussion. They are rescuing from anonymity the struggle for the
8-hour day, begun in Chicago over a century ago by the immigrants of yesteryear.
They are recovering the traditions of all working people."