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