PRESS RELEASE: Marchers take to streets of Seattle in defense of communities for 18th Annual May Day March.

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MEDIA ADVISORY

 

For Immediate Release: Monday, May 1, 2017

Contact: El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition,

ph: 206.465.5511, em:  bocajj1@comcast.com, Twitter Tag: #MayDaySea #MayDayWa.


Marchers take to the streets of Seattle in defense of community members for the 18th Annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights. 

SEATTLE – An estimated ten thousand demonstrators took to the streets of Seattle to participate in the 18th Annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights. The events began at Judkins Park at 11:00 a.m., with a brief program that included music, speeches, and logistical announcements for the procession. Participants then filed westbound, on Lane Street to start the March at 3:15 p.m. Native Northwestern Hand Drummers joined the Ce Atl Tonalli Aztec Dance group in setting the cadence and leading the march to toward its destination.

Early weather conditions impacted today’s turnout, but rain notwithstanding, the march was the largest May Day Procession in Seattle since 2010, when the introduction of the now infamous SB 1070 law was codified as state-sanctioned discrimination in Arizona. Marchers came out in support of various causes and under different banners, but united as one community seeking dignity, above all. Many participants acknowledged that many of the issues presented aren’t independent of each other, but rather, intersect with each other.

The march swelled as feeder marches and action stations provided additional marchers along the way. The first feeder march arrived by way of the Veteran’s Anti-War Formation, which marched in the morning and arrived at Judkins Park. Organized labor also provided a sizable contingent along 16th Avenue and Jackson Street, and a Women and Families contingent joined the march on route through downtown. Additionally, separate action stations provided additional participants as well. The first action station was based at the King County Juvenile Detention Center, followed by an action station at Seattle University, another outside of Swedish Medical Center, and the final action station, in front of Amazon Corporate Headquarters.

The march route ended at the Fisher Green at Seattle Center with a program initiated by members of the Duwamish Tribe who welcomed the procession onto their ancestral lands. The concluding program was organized with the thought in mind that our communities need to heal in light of increased incidences of racism and xenophobia. Juan Jose Bocanegra, a representative of the May 1st Action Coalition noted, “We need to continue engaging each other and supporting each other’s struggles. Make no mistake, this administration will continue ramping up attacks against labor, against immigrants, against women, and against our Muslim brothers and sisters. Resistance is our way of saying that we will not comply, we will not allow our communities to be oppressed.”

 

For more information, contact the following: El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition, ph:206.465.5511, em:  bocajj1@comcast.com, Twitter Tag: #MayDaySea #MayDayWa.

 

Know Your Rights Resources

Attention ICE
While we expect a large turnout and a great march, it’s still a good idea to know our rights as demonstrators and participants in a major march. We have listed a few PDF files below. We’d like to thank the ACLU of Washington for pointing us toward these resources.
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“Tienes el Derecho a Permanecer en Silencio” (Spanish) Courtesy of the National Lawyers Guild
 
“Que hacer si me para un Policia” (Spanish) Courtesy of the ACLU
 
“Know your Protest and Demonstration Rights” (English) Courtesy of the ACLU
 
“Know your Rights when Stopped by Police” (English) Courtesy of the ACLU
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#MayDaySea #MayDayWa

List of Organizations Endorsing the 2017 May Day March in Seattle.

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We would like to acknowledge the following groups for offering logistical and financial support in organizing the 18th Annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights.
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Aerospace Machinists Lodge #751

Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition-Seattle

American Civil Liberties Union of Washington

American Federation of Teacher Local 1789

American Federation of Teachers-Washington, AFL-CIO

API Chaya

Asian Counseling and Referral Services

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance AFL-CIO (APALA-Seattle)

BAYAN PNW

Bayan USA

Central Puget Sound Carpenters Local 30

Casa Latina

Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites

Community Alliance for Global Justice

Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s Office

El Centro de La Raza

EL Comité

Entre Hermanos

Freedom Socialist Party

Front and Centered

GABRIELA

Got Green

Green Party of Washington State

Greenpeace USA

Hod Carriers & General Laborers Local 242

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 46

Indonesian Lutheran Fellowship

Industrial Workers of the World

Latin Americans United for Education

Legacy of Equality, Leadership, and Organizing (LELO-Seattle)

Martin Luther King Jr. County Labor Council

Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) Resistance

Northwest Regional Organizing Coalition for Laborers

Office and Professional Employees International Union

OneAmerica

Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (O.W.L.S)

Party for Socialism and Liberation-Seattle

People’s Climate Movement

Philippine U.S. Solidarity Organization (PUSO)

Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA)

Queen Anne Community

Radical Women

Real Change

Refuse Fascism Northwest

Retired Public Employees Council

Restaurant Opportunities Center-Seattle

Sawat Solidarity Fund

SAFE

SeaMar Clinics

Seattle Democratic Socialists of America

Seattle Solidarity Network (SeaSol)

Service Employees International Union Local 6

Service Employees International Union Local 775

Service Employees International Union 1199 NW

Sierra Club

Socialist Alternative

Socialist Students

Socialist Workers Party

Southwest Youth Family Services

Tacoma Migrant Justice Project

Teamsters Local 117

Transit Riders Union

United Auto Workers Local 4121

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21

UNITE-HERE Local 8

Washington Fair Trade Coalition

Washington Federation of State Employees 304

Washington State Labor Council

Washington Veteran Action Network

Washington Won’t Discriminate Campaign

Workers World Party

Working Washington

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(List updated on April 30th, 2017)

If your organization would like to endorse the march, please send an e-mail to: oscarr@uw.edu.

2017 May Day Poster (English)

MayDayPosterFinal(3.31.17)

2017 May Day Poster (Spanish version)

MayDayPosterFinalEspanol(4.1.17).jpg

Marchers Celebrate the 10 year Anniversary of the 2006 Mega-Marches for Immigrant Rights, hold upbeat procession

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MEDIA ADVISORY

 

For Immediate Release: Sunday, May 1, 2016
Contact: El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition,

ph: 206.465.5511, em:  info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #May1stSea.


Marchers Celebrate the 10 year Anniversary of the 2006 Mega-Marches for Immigrant Rights, hold upbeat procession to the U.S. District Courthouse.

SEATTLE – Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Seattle to participate in the 2016 May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Right. The events began at Judkins Park at 1:00 p.m., with a brief program that included music, speeches, and logistical announcements for the march. Participants then filed westbound, on Lane Street to start the March at 2:15 p.m. At around 2:45 p.m., the march departed from St. Mary’s Church, with Danza Ce Atl Tonalli, setting the tone.

 

The march swelled, with contingents joining along the way on Jackson Street and 20th Avenue, along Boren Avenue, as well as on several street corners along First Hill, and Capitol Hill. Included among these groups, were contingents for organized labor as well as participants who opted to join the march as it made its way through the middle of the city. In all, several dozen organizations and community groups endorsed the 2015 march and provided the resources to mobilize their own members, in addition to others in the community.

 

The march ended at the U.S. District Courthouse in Downtown Seattle. The selection of the site was very deliberate, as organizers made note to demonstrate in opposition to the U.S. District 5 Court’s challenge to the DACA/DAPA program, which if implemented by the Obama administration, would have provided relief and a temporary deferral of deportation for many undocumented students and their parents.  Likewise, also of note in this year’s March was the focus on protesting against police brutality, with the recent shooting of Che Taylor in Seattle and Jackie Salyers in Tacoma. “All lives matter,” noted Andre Taylor, brother of Che Taylor and a speaker at the event. “All lives have equal value, but we need to ensure that police understand that. If I suffer, you suffer, and if you suffer I suffer…It is through unity that we assure that all lives have equal value.”

 

The 2016 march also focused on the theme of providing documentation for all, an end to racism in political discourse, and ceasing the deportation and detention of immigrants. Juan Jose Bocanegra, a representative of the May 1st Action Coalition proclaimed, “We need to end these racist attacks against our community. We need to stop Trump’s fascist racism!”

 

Councilmember Kshama Sawant also spoke about the historical implications of the day. “Ten years ago, the immigrant community rose up and organized against oppression.”  In the ten years since the historic marches of 2006 the movement has waxed and waned. According to Jorge Quiroga, “the reason we are still here is because we are still organizing for justice.” “Our brothers and sisters in the faith, labor, and social justice communities have been there throughout the years. This is true solidarity, this is what community is all about.”

 

For more information, contact the following: El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition, ph:206.465.5511, em:  info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #May1stSea.

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Reflections on the 10 year Anniversary of the 2006 Mega-Marches for Immigrant Rights.

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MEDIA ADVISORY

 

For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 14, 2016
Contact: El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition,

ph: 206.465.5511, em:  info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #May1stSea.


Reflections on the 10 year Anniversary of the 2006 Mega-Marches for Immigrant Rights
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Community members continue the struggle amidst rampant discrimination and xenophobia.

SEATTLE – Sunday marked the 10 Year Anniversary of the April 10, 2006 National Day of Action for Immigrant Rights March.  The march was one of two major marches to take place in the Spring of 2006 (the other taking place on May 1st 2006) and was a critical event in recent history.  Both events were the largest mass demonstrations to take place in Seattle since the WTO Demonstrations of 1999 and the Anti-Iraq War March of 2003. The marches were part of a larger coordinated effort in which cities nationwide took to the streets to protest against the draconian, H.R. 4437 legislation (passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in December of 2005).

The legislation, also known as the Sensenbrenner Bill and named for its sponsor, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin), would have: 1) made it a felony to assist undocumented immigrants, 2) sought the building of 700 miles of militarized border fence, 3) fined undocumented immigrants thousands of dollars during deportation procedures, and 4) forced local and state police to act as de facto Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) auxiliary agents. In essence, besides the alarming encroachment into local law enforcement agencies, the bill would have instantly criminalized schools, teachers, clergy, churches, social service workers and agencies, as well as family members of undocumented immigrants, simply for the act of providing basic humanitarian aid (e.g., food, clothing, shelter). The xenophobic fervor was especially acute, considering that residing in the country without valid documentation is a civil matter, not a criminal offense. The bill passed through congress with a Republican majority, sprinkled with a few votes from members of the Democratic Party. Rep Rick Larsen (D-Washington), was one of the Democrats to have the dubious distinction of voting for the bill.

The urgency felt by many immigrants and their families in wake of H.R. 4437 led to some of the largest mobilizations in U.S. history. Locally, the response to the passing of the Sensenbrenner Bill led to a wave of protests and demonstrations that set a new precedent for Washington State’s Latina/o population. Youth in high schools, concerned about their parents, led walkouts and demonstrations across the state. University students mobilized on their campuses and passed student government resolutions denouncing the legislation. Community organizers branched out to different entities in the labor, faith, and social justice communities, to march with the goal in mind to stop H.R. 4437 from becoming law. Nationally, the marches, demonstrations, boycotts, and general strike on May 1st 2006, proved decisive in killing H.R. 4437 and its legislative equivalent in the U.S. Senate. Soon after this victory, the movement forked as many community organizations continued fighting legislation at the local level, while several other groups demobilized in anticipation of the 2006 and 2008 elections, and the “possibility” of using the electoral process to attain the movement’s goals.

In the 10 years since the marches, conditions remain variable for many immigrants throughout the country. The electoral process and election of democrats to the House of Representatives, Senate, and White House didn’t deliver on the promise for a just immigration reform. Tragically, as the War in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Economic Depression, and Health Care Reform took top billing in policy, the same regressive, enforcement-first policies enacted by the Bush Administration continued unabated. Institutional neglect and congressional lip service allowed for an estimated 3 million immigrants to be deported. As people waited for congress to move, conservative states enticed by xenophobic wedge issues, tried passing in their own legislation, most notoriously in Arizona with the passing of S.B 1070.

In light of what transpired nationally, in Seattle and the Puget Sound, organizers re-shifted their energies to local campaigns to create a sanctuary city in Seattle, to allow undocumented immigrants to attain a driver’s license to safely operate a vehicle, and to create an ordinance that outlawed wage theft (immigrant day laborers were especially vulnerable). It is through continued support and solidarity, that the immigrant rights movement in Seattle has been able to maintain a steady presence and has continued the fight for social justice.

As we look toward May Day 2016 we reflect upon what we have collectively achieved and what goals we wish to attain. In previous years, we proclaimed “we demand, because we produce.” In rural communities, we are critical to the agricultural economy in this state. In the urban areas, our work in support and service industries are essential behind the scenes. We came out to the streets on May 1st 1999, and continue the tradition yet again this year. As workers, as community members, we invite all our sisters and brothers in labor, faith, and social justice to join us once again this year. May 1st is our holiday in which we celebrate the workers, the members of our communities on the social and economic margins that struggle every day for a more dignified existence. On this day we join as workers from all segments of life, all corners of the earth, and stand in solidarity and embrace each other. In the words of many activists circa 2006, “Aquí estamos y no nos vamos!”

EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE.
For more information, contact the following: El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition, ph:206.465.5511, em:  info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #May1stSea.

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