For Immediate Release: Tuesday April 19, 2011
Contact: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition, 206.324.6044.
Organizers Anticipate Larger Turnout for Annual March Scheduled for Sunday, May 1st 2011.
Cuts in Public Services, Attacks on Organized Labor, and the recently proposed Drivers’ License bill that would have denied undocumented immigrants, among major issues in mobilization.
SEATTLE – This year, as in the past, El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition will host their annual May 1st March, scheduled to begin at Judkins Park in Seattle on Sunday, May 1st 2011, in what many anticipate will be one of the largest marches yet. This is scheduled to be yet another major event in what has been a very active year. Protests have erupted throughout the country in response to adverse economic conditions as well as congressional inactivity in addressing immigration reform in a humane, non-racially biased way.
The recent wave in demonstrations both locally and nationally have illustrated popular discontent with the direction in which law makers in Olympia and Washington D.C. have taken budgetary discourse. Cuts in public services in many states have drawn scores of demonstrators in opposition. Likewise, labor disputes centered on the right to organize collectively have sparked a groundswell of support for workers in many states along the Eastern United States, most notably in states like Wisconsin, New Jersey and Michigan, among others.
Similarly, in the State of Washington, one of the most controversially contested bills was SB 5407, which would prohibit anyone who is undocumented to obtain a drivers license. Though not as far-reaching and constitutionally questionable as Arizona SB 1070, the bill’s sponsor led legislative hearings around SB 5407 that were fraught with xenophobic grandstanding under the guise of transportation safety. In the end, the bill was defeated, as even Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-Camano Island) cast a vote against the bill that she herself sponsored.
According to Juan Jose Bocanegra, an organizer with El Comité, “these issues are all interconnected. Many who bear the brunt of this economic downturn are also the ones who are blamed by corporate and right wing interests. Workers are divided by barriers in national status, income, and ability. When it comes down to it, we all see the same attacks. It’s important to acknowledge each other and work together for all our common interests.”
The 2011 March route will go downhill from the Judkins Park and curve northbound on way to Memorial Stadium at Seattle Center. A two hour program is slated for attendees and will include musical performances, speeches by local labor and social justice leaders, and a special keynote from longtime, Chicago-based activist, Carlos Arango, formerly a student leader at the time of the Tlatelolco Massacre in Mexico City in 1968 and presently Executive Director of the Casa Aztlan community center in Chicago.
The May 1st Action Coalition is an entity comprised of labor and social justice organizations in the greater Seattle area that has come together in recent years to organize alongside El Comité for the Annual May 1st March. El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social has been in existence since April of 2000. This event will mark the 11th year that this march has been organized and sponsored by El Comité and other social justice groups.
For more information, contact the following: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition, 206.324.6044.