Thousands take to the streets of Seattle for the 14th Annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights.

Primary logo w border (2014)

MEDIA ADVISORY

 

For Immediate Release: Friday, May 2, 2014

 

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

ph: 206.650.2106 and 206.696.1348, em:  info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #May1stSea.

 

Thousands take to the streets of Seattle for the 14th Annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights.

Participants voiced the need for a livable wage for all workers and a cease to indiscriminate deportations that tear families apart.

 

SEATTLE – An estimated 7 to 10,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Seattle to participate in the 14th Annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Right. The events began at Judkins Park at 2:00 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 3:00 pm. At around 3:30, the march departed from St. Mary’s Church, with Danza Ce Atl Tonalli, setting the tone.

 

Despite a detour from the regular march path of years past, due to construction on the western portion of Jackson Street, the march still drew a larger attendance than last year. The march swelled, with contingents of groups joining along the way on Jackson Street and 20th Avenue, along Boren Avenue, as well as on several street corners along First Hill, and Downtown Seattle. Included among these groups, were contingents for organized labor and for a coalition of activist youth groups from the Seattle area.

 

The march concluded at Westlake Park, as thousands streamed in from 4th Avenue. Dr. Reverend Leslie D. Braxton addressed the crowd, speaking on the need to join as a larger social justice community. “We have the power, and the tools to work for what is right! When we join our immigrant brothers and sisters. When we join our brothers and sisters in labor. When we join our brothers and sisters struggling for a dignified wage. When we join our brothers and sisters in the Black community. In the Latino Community. In the Native community. In the Asian community. We will see a better, more just society.”

 

Councilmember Kshama Sawant also offered remarks on the struggle for worker justice. “It is your presence, your continued push, that has forced the city to acknowledge the need for a livable minimum wage. You made a profound statement. That we are not playing around, we are not playing around with peoples’ lives. Workers deserve more, and we say no, to deduction in wages for tips, and we say no to deducting health care from workers’ hourly wage. We don’t have time to wait while many workers live in poverty.”

 

Other speakers at the rally also addressed larger regional issues, with updates on the ongoing campaign by immigrants that are detained at the Northwest Detention Center. One speaker detailed the conditions in the Tacoma-based center, which include inadequate medical care, poor nutrition that is provided, unreasonable charges for communicating with family via telephone, and mistreatment and neglect by center staff in general. These grievances were what lead to a hunger strike in late February. The campaign for better conditions is ongoing.

 

There was also a call to continue the Boycott of Sakuma Farms products by members of the organization Familias Unidas por la Justicia in Skagit County. Workers have been in a labor dispute over work conditions and wage theft over the last year. They will hold a march for Farmworker Dignity on Sunday, May 4th in Bellingham.

 

The rally was also aided by the musical duo, Latin Rose and Jack Mozie, who performed at the beginning and conclusion of the event.  Jack noted, “I’ve been fighting for Social Justice since the marriage equality campaign with Social Outreach Seattle. Together we worked on a music video for an immigration anthem I wrote that calls for comprehensive immigration reform that is inclusive of the LGBT community.”

 

“This for me was such an honor and privilege that I cried when Juan Bocanegra called me and asked if I could sing for May Day,” said Ruth Alfaro, who goes by the stage name, Latin Rose. “When I saw all my people marching and chanting for the same cause… It made my soul sing! When I started singing the song that I made for the Latin and LGBTQ community called Vive La Vida I got such a rush, this moment is what I was born for!…No more deportations, no more discrimination, freedom and justice for all!

 

For more information, contact the following: El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition, ph: 206.650.2106 and 206.696.1348, em:  info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #May1stSea.

 

###

 

PRESS RELEASE: Immigrants Rights Activists will hold a Rally on Labor Day

Orange Banner

MEDIA ADVISORY

For Immediate Release: Friday, August 23, 2013

Contact: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social, ph: 425.344.8641 and 253.347.4229, em:  info@elcomitewa.org.

Immigrant Rights Activists Will Hold A Rally for a Just Immigration Reform at Westlake Park on Monday September 2nd, 2013.

SEATTLE – El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social will hold a rally at Westlake Park, on Monday September 2nd, 2013. The purpose of the rally is to draw attention to the plight of the immigrant community in wake of the passage of Senate Bill 744 in the U.S. Senate. Details for the event are below:

WHO: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social.

WHAT: Labor Day Rally for a Humane and Just Immigration Reform.

WHERE: Westlake Park (400 Pine Street, Seattle, WA 98101)

WHEN: Monday September 2nd, 2013, 11:00 am-1:00 pm.

Background

SB 744, which is currently stalling in the U.S. House of Representatives, is legislation that will benefit only a select portion of the estimated 11 Million undocumented residents in the United States, while simultaneously pumping more capital into an already bloated Border Enforcement Mechanism. The 13 year process, which makes documentation hinge on the ability to maintain continuous employment, places many immigrants in a tenuous position where they are at their employer’s will, making for an atmosphere that can lead to workplace abuses. The clear winner in this proposal are the Arms and Private Detention Center Industries which benefits from unprecedented spending allocated toward policing the border and detaining undocumented immigrants. We join our peers in the southern borderlands in opposing this proposal. The bill is short-sighted, lacks protections for immigrant workers, and further works at corroding the fabric of our communities. As workers who are essential to the U.S. economy we deserve better! We will continue to voice our concerns and push for a just immigration reform that respects the human, civil and labor rights of all.

EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE.

For more information, contact the following: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social, ph: 425.344.8641 and 253.347.4229, em:  info@elcomitewa.org

###

PRESS RELEASE: Response to Senate Bill 744

Orange Banner

MEDIA ADVISORY

For Immediate Release: Friday, August 23, 2013

Contact: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social, ph: 425.344.8641 and 253.347.4229, em:  info@elcomitewa.org.

Immigrant Rights Activists Respond to Senate Bill 744

The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 ignores the reality of contemporary migration and immigrant labor.

SEATTLE – The recent passage of Senate Bill 744 is the latest attempt to overhaul the United States’ immigration system since the “Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility” (IIRIRA) Act of 1996. This action in congress is a pro-active measure at addressing a concern that has been the central preoccupation of various families and communities directly impacted by the issue. In reaching bi-partisan support, congress has drafted and voted through, a measure that will allow for a drawn out 13 year path to citizenship for some, while simultaneously militarizing a southern border that is already heavily fortified.

On Sunday, August 4th 2013, we held a gathering to hear community concerns about the bill and craft our official response to SB 744. El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social, reaffirms its stance that any legislation that is entertained through both the House of Representatives and the Senate, MUST secure the rights of immigrant workers, families, and communities. As a matter of principle, it is important to address the humanitarian needs of our communities first and foremost. All are deserving of a dignified existence, free of intimidation, workplace abuse, police harassment, violence, and forced family separation. It is with this in mind, that we vociferously oppose the enforcement heavy amendments and provisions codified within S 744.

From preliminary discussion, it appears likely that S 744 will be scrapped by the U.S. House of Representatives in favor of house-initiated legislation that promises to be even more divisive and restrictive. As social justice proponents, this is not what we had in mind when we took to the streets to demand drastic change to the immigration infrastructure. We saw draconian legislation over seven year ago, and see more of the same as the emphasis on “enforcement-first” points to the fact that conservative politicians, of both stripes, have a tenuous grasp of reality and are still utilizing an ineffective, outdated model that has proved useless in meeting our present day challenges.

The only major beneficiaries are the representatives of the Military Industrial Complex and the politicians working on their behalf. While immigrants are forced to pass through a 13 year labyrinth which will inevitably weed many out of the path to citizenship, the arms industry will line its pockets with lucrative contracts that pump more money into an already bloated border defense apparatus. As such, we join human rights proponents, social justice advocates, and our peers along the southern border, in opposing the legislation as is.

The first action that we will take in verbalizing this position will be with a demonstration at Westlake Park on Labor Day. Details to follow in the coming days. As a community, we believe that addressing the humanitarian crisis should take precedence. We’ve spent too much time watching the situation deteriorate. We need a just immigration reform, and we need it now!

EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE.

For more information, contact the following: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social, ph: 425.344.8641 and 253.347.4229, em:  info@elcomitewa.org

###

PRESS RELEASE: May Day March 2013 in Seattle

Orange Banner

MEDIA ADVISORY

 

For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 2, 2013

 

Contact: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition,

ph: 206.650.2106, em:  info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #M1SEA.

 

Thousands of Demonstrators take part in the 13th Annual May Day March & Rally for Workers and Immigrant Rights.

March focus was to voice community concerns regarding the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill proposed by the “gang of eight.”

 

SEATTLE – Thousands demonstrators took to the streets of Seattle to participate in the 13th Annual May Day March & Rally for Workers and Immigrant Right. The events began at Judkins Park at 1:00 p.m., with a Rally that hosted speakers from the local faith-based organizations in the Seattle area. Speakers represented several denominations and faith communities, which then filed westbound, on Lane Street to start the March at 3:00 pm.

 

March participant, Alma Gutierrez noted, “we’re here for our families. It is a shame that our communities are divided by raids and repression with absolute impunity.” Others echoed similar concerns as yearly deportations have now exceeded more than 390,000 in recent years. Organizers noted that it is insulting that the most recent Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill is still nebulous on several details, save for the enforcement mechanisms.

 

According to Juan Jose Bocanegra, “It’s like the ‘good, the bad, and the ugly.’ We want to keep the good, we want to change the bad, and we want to get rid of the ugly.”

 

The procession was led by the Ce Atl Tonalli Aztec Dance Group that helped pace the march from 20th and Jackson Streets, to the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building in downtown Seattle. The march ended with a program that included speakers from different segments of the community. They spoke on how current immigration law impacts youth, families, LGBTQ, women, workers, and others.

Carlos Padilla, an organizer with  the  Washington  DREAM Act  Coalition  mentioned, “I had to come out of the closet as undocumented…later, I came out of the closet   as gay. I am an undocuqueer youth. All our movements all our concerns are  one. We are a community that seeks justice for all.”

 

Bocanegra reflected on the day’s activities, “Our message has been clear throughout the day. I keep getting asked if there was anxiety  before the march. All we can do is prepare for what we need to do to ensure the march serves to demonstrate our unified message. Fact of the matter is that unfortunately, last years events are the central focus for many news agencies. Somehow, 15 minutes of property destruction at a separate event are deemed  more important than the human crisis we’ve seen over the last 26 years with families being separated, workers being exploited, and people being held in the most inhumane  conditions at private, unregulated Detention Centers.”

 
In spite of adverse media reporting the march went off without a hitch. Demonstrators came from Auburn, Tacoma, Bellingham, and some as far as Yakima. The march also benefited from a strong youth presence with one contingent organized by local high school students, and another arriving from the local colleges and universities. As legislation is debated locally as well as nationally, participants made it clear that there is a need to continue the pressure for humane reform, and the right of all members of the community to live and work without fear. 

 

For more information, contact the following: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition, ph: 206.650.2106, em:  info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #M1SEA.

El Comité Responds to the United States Supreme Court Ruling on Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant SB 1070 Legislation

MEDIA ADVISORY

For Immediate Release: Thursday June 28, 2012

Contact: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social, 206.324.6044/253.347.4229.  info@elcomitewa.org

El Comité Responds to the United States Supreme Court Ruling on Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant SB 1070 Legislation

 

SEATTLE – El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria y Justicia Social views the United States Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s SB 1070 as a failure on part of our judicial branch to protect the basic rights of immigrants and people of color from harassment and racial profiling. On the morning of Monday, June 25th 2012, the Supreme Court passed down its ruling on the aforementioned, contentious bill. In a 5-3 decision the court ruled that three of the key provisions were unconstitutional, save for the provision that allows for police in Arizona to stop and ask documentation from people presumed to be in the United States without proper documentation.

In April of 2010, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070, sparking contentious debate as to whether states can enforce federal immigration law. The act of signing SB 1070 was perhaps one of the biggest threats to civil liberties in communities of color, setting a dangerous precedent that will reverberate nation-wide. Central to the debate is the provision that allows law enforcement to stop and detain people suspected of being undocumented. Although other provisions were struck down, the fact of the matter remains that in Arizona, police are still able to exercise discriminatory policing based on a person’s appearance.

In Maricopa County, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, was found to utilize excessive and discriminatory force against the Latino community, as reported by a United States Department of Justice investigation. As a whole, the social climate in the state that introduced SB 1070 is one that enables discrimination and hostility toward immigrants and people of color in general.

El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social reiterates the earlier point that in spite of the striking down of three provisions of SB 1070, perhaps the most controversial of these provisions, was left intact by the Supreme Court decision. Of concern with the decision, is the fact that various copycat laws have been passed since the introduction of SB 1070 in Arizona. As we have done over the course of the last twelve years, we will continue to work to ensure that all are given the opportunity to have a dignified existence, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, nationality or documented status.

EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE!

For more information, contact the following: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social, 206.324.6044/253.347.4229.  info@elcomitewa.org

###

PRESS RELEASE: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social addresses rumors about action on May 1st.

MEDIA ADVISORY

For Immediate Release: Sunday April 29, 2012

Contact: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social, 206.650.2106info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #SeattleMayDayMarch2012

El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social addresses rumors about action on May 1st.

The May Day March and its participants wish to clarify any misinformation being circulated by fringe groups and officials within the Seattle Police Department.

 

SEATTLE – El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social wishes to reiterate and reaffirm that we in no way encourage the dissemination of any information that encourages our participants to engage in reckless, poorly thought out activities that place our participants and their families in any danger.  Contrary to reports that have been disseminated in the media, the vast majority of participants in May 1st activities do not have the intent of placing participants in danger. Our annual march is set with the intent of engaging the general population in bridging the barriers that divide our worker and social justice communities. True to the spirit of May Day, this march will make every effort to ensure that all are able to participate and connect with one another to progress a vision of community that seeks social justice for all, regardless of immigrant status, race, gender, nationality, ability, and sexual orientation.

On Tuesday, there will be two events; an Occupy Seattle sponsored program at Westlake during the day, and our annual march from St. Mary’s Church, in the evening. We are working with members of Occupy Seattle to make each of our events both safe and effective. Over the course of the last 12 years, we have encountered many challenges with threats of violence from right-wing extremists and white supremacists that have arisen from the work we do. Each and every year we and our allies have worked diligently to overcome such difficulties, to ensure that those who are on the economic and social margins have a space to voice their grievances in the midst of repeated attacks on our labor and immigrant communities. It is in unity that we find power, and it is in peaceful demonstration that we show our greatest strength. This march has, and always will be an event for the people. We will not take any threats of violence lightly and we will ensure that this event, like others past, is also a peaceful procession.

In closing, we ask any individual or entity to immediately cease any attempt to subvert and dismantle the work that we have undertaken for over 12 years. We welcome any and all who wish to work with us and offer support in solidarity. Likewise, we echo the long shore worker’s point which they emphasized in their struggle in Longview, that we as workers and community members are the only ones who can directly address the matters that afflict our communities. We respect the work that many other social justice organizations undertake. As such, we expect this same mutual respect in regard to our own internal workings and democratic structure. There is no need for petty tactics, misinformation, and infiltration of our events for the self-interest of narcissist, self-anointed “activists” who use intimidation and political terrorism to satiate their own egotistical needs. Let us all join as one to ensure we all coexist in a dignified way as workers, community members, students, as human beings.

EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE!

For more information, contact the following: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social, 206.650.2106.  info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #SeattleMayDayMarch2012

###

Press Release: Thousands Expected to take to the streets for 2012 May 1st March and Rally in Seattle.

Image

MEDIA ADVISORY

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Contact: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition,
ph: 206.324.6044 em:  info@elcomitewa.org Twitter Tag:#SeattleMayDayMarch2012

Thousands to take to the streets in Seattle for the 12th Annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights on Tuesday, May 1st 2012.

March to call for an immediate end to the forced implementation of the ‘Secure Communities’ Program (S Comm) in Washington and to protest Wells Fargo Bank for their role in funding unregulated prisons and detention centers throughout the United States

 

SEATTLE – Thousands of demonstrators are expected to take to the streets of Seattle on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 for the 12th Annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights. In the spirit of unity and solidarity with other communities across the country, organizers in Seattle will focus on the universal theme of standing together with all workers regardless of race, class, gender, religious affiliation, sexual identity, ability, and documented status. Event details:

What: 12th Annual May Day March and Rally for Workers and Immigrant Rights

Who: You, thousands of workers and immigrant rights supporters. We’ll be welcomed by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. We’ll hear testimonials from the community members, including faith based communities.

When: 3:30 p.m. Tuesday May 1st, 2012.

Where: The march will begin at St. Mary’s Church (611 20th Ave South, Seattle, WA 98144) and a rally at its destination at the Federal Building in downtown Seattle.

Background

The theme of the 2012 march will center around justice for all workers and for an immediate end to the forced implementation of the “Secure Communities” Program in Washington State. Since its inception in 2008 under the George W. Bush Administration, S Comm has grown in scale and has contributed to record numbers of deportations throughout the U.S. In spite of the supposed intended goal of apprehending convicted felons, S Comm has led to an atmosphere of intimidation and racial profiling with many dragnet raids targeting communities of color throughout the country. These raids, often brutal and heavy-handed continue operating with absolute impunity with little to no regard for the civil and human rights of the communities targeted. Similarly, the march and rally will also focus on Wells Fargo Bank’s fudiciary support of the unregulated Private Prison-Industrial complex which controls several private prisons and immigration detention centers throughout the United States. This event marks the 12th Annual May Day march organized byEl Comité and several other allied social justice organizations.

For more information, contact the following: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition, 206.324.6044info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #SeattleMayDayMarch2012

###

El Comité Pro-Reforma Migratoria y Justicia Social, May 1st Action Coalition, American Federation of Teachers 1789, Aerospace Machinists Lodge 751, Allyship, Backbone Campaign, Bethany United Church of Christ, Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites, Casa Latina, Community Alliance for Global Justice, El Centro de la Raza, Hod Carriers & General Laborers Local 242, Latino Civic Alliance, Martin Luther King Jr. County Labor Council, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan de Seattle U., Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan de U. of Washington, National Organization for Women, Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 8, Orgullo P’urhepecha, Pacific Northwest American Friends Service Committee,  PUSO, Seattle Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, Service Employees International Union Local 1199, Service Employees International Union Local 775, Social Justice Fund, Socialist Workers Party, St. Mary’s Parish, Teamsters Local 117, United Auto Workers Local 4121, United Communities Coalition, United Food and Commercial Workers Union 21,UNITE HERE Local 8, Washington Community Action Network, Washington Fair Trade Coalition, Washington Federation of State Employees 304, Washington New Sanctuary Movement, Washington State Labor Council, Washington State Labor Education and Research Center, Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation, Washington Young Emerging Labor Leaders, Working Washington, Witness for Peace-Pacific Northwest Region.