May Day March inspired by Women’s Marches

Womenchapter Desk:

Emilio Amaya, with the San Bernardino Community Services Center, leads the Inland Empire May Day March on Sunday, May 1, 2016 in San Bernardino, Ca. The march celebrated immigrant communities and called for immigration policies that lead to citizenship. (Sarah Alvarado for the San Bernardino Sun)

President Donald Trump has beefed up deportation efforts, stripped away transgender rights, and authorized officials to undo climate change programs.

And on Monday, May 1, opponents of Trump’s actions are uniting to condemn his administration.

“This is really an opportunity for us who are being targeted to come together, raise our voices and demonstrate to our government that we are present and we will fight back any discriminatory rhetoric against us,” said San Bernardino resident Erika Flores, with the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice.

May 1, known as May Day, is celebrated as an international day honoring workers. Rallies are typically held to show support for the rights of workers and immigrants. Hundreds are expected to march in Riverside, beginning at 10 a.m. at Fairmount Park.

The Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice has organized May Day rallies since 2006, when protesters across the nation called for immigration reform in response to a bill that criminalized undocumented immigrants. More than 10 years ago, thousands marched from Ontario to Pomona,  rallying for justice for immigrants.

This year, the coalition’s May Day platform is aimed at bringing attention not just to immigrants and workers, but to women, youth, and the LGBT community. The rally is inspired by the women’s marches that took place a day after Trump’s inauguration. Environmental, racial and economic justice are also focuses of the rally.

“We have a very inclusive platform as to why we’re marching. We’re all really coming together,” said Javier Hernandez, director for the coalition. “The May Day march is not just for immigrants … It’s also for the intersections of what immigrant communities go through.”

Riverside’s march could be big. Organizers have posted fliers in cities across the Inland area. A red and white banner with the words “Rise Together May Day” could be seen on a bridge on the 60 Freeway near the 215 Freeway.

In Los Angeles, the May Day Coalition is planning its own massive strike and march on May 1.

Thousands of members and supporters of the coalition, which includes labor, community and faith organizations from around Southern California, are planning to march from MacArthur Park to Los Angeles City Hall under the banner of “resist,” organizers said.

“In Los Angeles, there is resistance, resistance against all that is being destroyed by this current (presidential) administration and resistance for a vision for a better future for our families,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, at a news conference in MacArthur Park.

The Inland area, organizers said, needs to project its own voice.

“The Inland Valley is not L.A.,” said Flores. “We are happy to know L.A. has been a point of focus, but that leaves out the thousands of people who live in the Inland Valley that cannot drive to L.A. and might not want to because they take pride in the area they live.”

“We expect just to really show … that the Inland Valley is rising together, coming together to support our values,” Flores said.

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