We Rise Up and Unite for Immigrant and Worker Rights on International Workers’ Day
SEIU 1021 members from across Northern California joined May Day actions in Santa Rosa, San Francisco and Oakland in a defiant and joyous celebration of the power of working people and the resilience of immigrant communities.
May Day is observed around the world as International Workers’ Day. And, though the date of May 1 was chosen to commemorate the a deadly 1886 police crackdown on a labor protest in Chicago’s Haymarket Square, May Day celebrations as a show of worker solidarity have traditionally been more muted in the United States than around the world. But this year, unprecedented threats of rolling back labor rights and intimidating and harassing immigrant families made International Workers’ Day the perfect holiday to come together as a community and say “Resist!” and “¡Ya Basta!” (“Enough is enough” in Spanish).
The heat of the day was no match for the mood of calm determination from the assembled crowds. Seas of faces wearing bright colors (including our own SEIU purple) and carrying inspiring signs and banners created a visual feast of solidarity: resistance will be beautiful.
For our members, marching on May Day is a matter of duty when justice is at stake.
“We have to go on marching for rights for everybody, no matter how old we are,” said George Woyames, a retired social worker and SEIU 1021 member who came out to the San Francisco march. “I am 73 and have a walking cane, but as long as I am blessed with energy, I will march for all.”