Monday’s May Day Marches Could Be the Biggest in Years

On May 1, hundreds of thousands of immigrants and their allies are expected to take to the streets in a nationwide show of power. Immigrants have been marching on May Day for a decade now, first in 2006, when 1.5 million people took to the streets across the country to demand immigration reform. Until that year, May Day had been associated solely with International Workers’ Day; now immigrants have made it a day to demand their rights, too. 2006 marked a watershed moment; it was the first time immigrants and their loved ones took to the streets in such massive numbers. In the decade since, marching on May 1 has become an annual custom, and the day is a key national day of action for

This year is no ordinary year, though.

“As immigrants our livelihoods, our futures, our families—they’re all in danger,” Jorge-Mario Cabrera, the director of communications at Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), said. “May Day presents an opportunity for us to not silence ourselves and to remain vigilant.”

Hundreds of actions, including strikes, marches, vigils, and rallies are planned for college campuses and in cities and towns across the country. It’s not just coastal cities either. In the lead-up to the May Day march in Phoenix, children of undocumented parents will gather at a church to share their stories before an all-night vigil, says Promise Arizona executive director Petra Falcon. In Milwaukee, where a major march is also being planned, the immigrant rights organization Voces de la Frontera has been distributing letters in English and Spanish for workers to give to their bosses asking employers to support their workers who choose to participate in the day of action. Activists in Scranton, Pennsylvania; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Newark, New Jersey and dozens of other cities have been calling for a one-day strike.

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