2016 May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights to draw Thousands of participants, commemorate the 10 year Anniversary of the 2006 Mega-Marches for Immigrant Rights.

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MEDIA ADVISORY

 

For Immediate Release: Monday, April 25, 2016
Contact: El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition,

ph: 206.465.5511, em:  info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #May1stSea.


2016 May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights to draw Thousands of participants, commemorate the 10 year Anniversary of the 2006 Mega-Marches for Immigrant Rights
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The struggle for dignity and human rights continues, despite institutional neglect and bipartisan cowardice.

SEATTLE – Thousands of demonstrators are expected to take to the streets of Seattle on Sunday, May 1, 2016 for the Annual May Day March and Rally for Workers and Immigrant Rights. In the spirit of unity and solidarity with communities across the country, organizers in Seattle will continue with the central theme of justice for immigrant workers, unconditional documentation for all, as well as justice for social and economically marginalized communities at the local, national, and international levels. Event details are as follows:

 

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

Who: Thousands of workers and immigrant rights supporters. We’ll hear testimonials from community members, and will be joined by allies from the labor, social justice, and faith based communities.

When: Sunday May 1st, 2016. A preliminary program will begin at Judkins Park at 1:00 p.m. The march will depart from the starting point at 3:00 p.m.

Where: The march will begin at St. Mary’s Church (611 20th Ave South, Seattle, WA 98144) and will end with a rally at the Federal Courthouse in Downtown Seattle (700 Stewart St., Seattle, WA 98101)

 

Background

The 2016 march will mark the 10 year anniversary of the 2006 mega-marches, which were organized to counter what seemed to be the imminent implementation of the draconian H.R. 4437 legislation.  The massive mobilization which brought millions to the streets across the country, effectively killed the bill. The subsequent demobilization of the movement in favor of electoral “victories,” instead led to the continuation of many Bush-era policies as the promise of immigration reform never came to pass, and right-wing discourse aided in the criminalization and dehumanization of undocumented immigrants. As a result, despite bipartisan cowardice in addressing a very real humanitarian issue, we continue to fight to ensure that our community members are treated with dignity and respect. As workers, as community members, we invite all our sisters and brothers in labor, faith, and social justice to join us once again this year. May 1st is our holiday in which we celebrate the workers and the members of our communities on the social and economic margins that struggle every day for a more dignified existence.

 

 

EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE.

 

For more information, contact the following: El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition, ph:206.465.5511, em:  info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #May1stSea.

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Marcha Anual del Primero de Mayo atraerá a miles de manifestantes, conmemora el décimo aniversario de las Mega-marchas del 2006.

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COMUNICADO DE PRENSA

Para publicación inmediata: Lunes, 25 de Abril 2016

Contacto: El Comité y La Coalición de Acción Primero de Mayo, tel: 206.465.5511, em: info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #May1stSea.

 

Marcha Anual del Primero de Mayo atraerá a miles de manifestantes, conmemora el décimo aniversario de las Mega-marchas del 2006.

 La lucha por la dignidad e derechos humanos continua, a pesar de la negligencia institucional e cobardía bipartidista.

SEATTLE – Miles de manifestantes tomaran las calles de Seattle el  Domingo, 1º de Mayo del 2016 para la marcha Anual del Primero de Mayo. En el espíritu de unidad e solidaridad con comunidades a través del país, organizadores en Seattle continuaran con el tema central de justicia para los trabajadores inmigrantes, papeles para todos sin condiciones, no a los muros, paro a las deportaciones, no al racismo, e justicia para todas comunidades que luchan en contra de la marginalización económica e social, al nivel local, nacional, e internacional. Detalles del evento:

Que: Marcha Anual del Primero de Mayo.

 

Quien: Miles de trabajadores y partidarios de los derechos de los inmigrantes. Vamos escuchar testimonios de miembros de la comunidad, e aliados del movimiento laboral, representantes de la comunidad religiosa, e miembros de la comunidad que trabajan para la justicia social.

 

Cuándo: Domingo 1º de Mayo del 2016 a la 1:00 p.m. Habrá mitin en el Parque Judkins comenzando a la 1:00 p.m. La marcha comenzara a las 3:00 p.m.

 

Dónde: La marcha comenzara en la Iglesia Santa María (611 20th Ave South, Seattle, WA 98144) y finalizaremos con una manifestación afuera de la Corte Federal del Centro de la Ciudad de Seattle (700 Stewart St., Seattle, WA 98101).

 

Antecedentes:

La marcha conmemora el Décimo aniversario de las mega-marchas del 2006, que fueron organizadas en contra de la posible implementación inminente de la legislación H.R. 4437. La movilización masiva que trajo a millones de manifestantes a las calles, fue efectiva en parar la legislación. La subsiguiente desmovilización del movimiento a favor de “victorias” electorales, en vez, dio a llevar la continuación de muchas de las políticas de la presidencia del Expresidente Bush, mientras la promesa de la reforma migratoria nunca se cumplió. Mientras tanto, el discurso derechista ayudo con la criminalización e deshumanización de los inmigrantes indocumentados. Como resultado, a pesar de la cobardía bipartidista en abordar este asunto humanitario, continuaremos la lucha para asegurar que los miembros de nuestra comunidad sean tratados con respeto e dignidad. Como trabajadores, como miembros de la comunidad, invitamos a todos nuestros hermanos e hermanas que luchan para la justicia social a que se unan con nosotros otra vez este año. El Primero de Mayo es nuestro día festivo en que celebramos a los trabajadores e los miembros de nuestra comunidad que se encuentran en los márgenes sociales e económicos, que luchan cada día por una existencia más digna.

 

EDUCAR, ORGANIZAR, MOBILIZAR

 

Para información adicional, por favor contáctese con: El Comité y La Coalición de Acción Primero de Mayo, tel: 206.465.5511, em: info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #May1stSea.

 

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Reflections on the 10 year Anniversary of the 2006 Mega-Marches for Immigrant Rights.

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MEDIA ADVISORY

 

For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 14, 2016
Contact: El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition,

ph: 206.465.5511, em:  info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #May1stSea.


Reflections on the 10 year Anniversary of the 2006 Mega-Marches for Immigrant Rights
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Community members continue the struggle amidst rampant discrimination and xenophobia.

SEATTLE – Sunday marked the 10 Year Anniversary of the April 10, 2006 National Day of Action for Immigrant Rights March.  The march was one of two major marches to take place in the Spring of 2006 (the other taking place on May 1st 2006) and was a critical event in recent history.  Both events were the largest mass demonstrations to take place in Seattle since the WTO Demonstrations of 1999 and the Anti-Iraq War March of 2003. The marches were part of a larger coordinated effort in which cities nationwide took to the streets to protest against the draconian, H.R. 4437 legislation (passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in December of 2005).

The legislation, also known as the Sensenbrenner Bill and named for its sponsor, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin), would have: 1) made it a felony to assist undocumented immigrants, 2) sought the building of 700 miles of militarized border fence, 3) fined undocumented immigrants thousands of dollars during deportation procedures, and 4) forced local and state police to act as de facto Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) auxiliary agents. In essence, besides the alarming encroachment into local law enforcement agencies, the bill would have instantly criminalized schools, teachers, clergy, churches, social service workers and agencies, as well as family members of undocumented immigrants, simply for the act of providing basic humanitarian aid (e.g., food, clothing, shelter). The xenophobic fervor was especially acute, considering that residing in the country without valid documentation is a civil matter, not a criminal offense. The bill passed through congress with a Republican majority, sprinkled with a few votes from members of the Democratic Party. Rep Rick Larsen (D-Washington), was one of the Democrats to have the dubious distinction of voting for the bill.

The urgency felt by many immigrants and their families in wake of H.R. 4437 led to some of the largest mobilizations in U.S. history. Locally, the response to the passing of the Sensenbrenner Bill led to a wave of protests and demonstrations that set a new precedent for Washington State’s Latina/o population. Youth in high schools, concerned about their parents, led walkouts and demonstrations across the state. University students mobilized on their campuses and passed student government resolutions denouncing the legislation. Community organizers branched out to different entities in the labor, faith, and social justice communities, to march with the goal in mind to stop H.R. 4437 from becoming law. Nationally, the marches, demonstrations, boycotts, and general strike on May 1st 2006, proved decisive in killing H.R. 4437 and its legislative equivalent in the U.S. Senate. Soon after this victory, the movement forked as many community organizations continued fighting legislation at the local level, while several other groups demobilized in anticipation of the 2006 and 2008 elections, and the “possibility” of using the electoral process to attain the movement’s goals.

In the 10 years since the marches, conditions remain variable for many immigrants throughout the country. The electoral process and election of democrats to the House of Representatives, Senate, and White House didn’t deliver on the promise for a just immigration reform. Tragically, as the War in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Economic Depression, and Health Care Reform took top billing in policy, the same regressive, enforcement-first policies enacted by the Bush Administration continued unabated. Institutional neglect and congressional lip service allowed for an estimated 3 million immigrants to be deported. As people waited for congress to move, conservative states enticed by xenophobic wedge issues, tried passing in their own legislation, most notoriously in Arizona with the passing of S.B 1070.

In light of what transpired nationally, in Seattle and the Puget Sound, organizers re-shifted their energies to local campaigns to create a sanctuary city in Seattle, to allow undocumented immigrants to attain a driver’s license to safely operate a vehicle, and to create an ordinance that outlawed wage theft (immigrant day laborers were especially vulnerable). It is through continued support and solidarity, that the immigrant rights movement in Seattle has been able to maintain a steady presence and has continued the fight for social justice.

As we look toward May Day 2016 we reflect upon what we have collectively achieved and what goals we wish to attain. In previous years, we proclaimed “we demand, because we produce.” In rural communities, we are critical to the agricultural economy in this state. In the urban areas, our work in support and service industries are essential behind the scenes. We came out to the streets on May 1st 1999, and continue the tradition yet again this year. As workers, as community members, we invite all our sisters and brothers in labor, faith, and social justice to join us once again this year. May 1st is our holiday in which we celebrate the workers, the members of our communities on the social and economic margins that struggle every day for a more dignified existence. On this day we join as workers from all segments of life, all corners of the earth, and stand in solidarity and embrace each other. In the words of many activists circa 2006, “Aquí estamos y no nos vamos!”

EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE.
For more information, contact the following: El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition, ph:206.465.5511, em:  info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #May1stSea.

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May Day 2016 Posters

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International Human Rights Day, December holidays, offer an opportunity to reflect on the plight of immigrants in the United States.

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International Human Rights Day, December holidays, offer an opportunity to reflect on the plight of immigrants in the United States.

 

 

As this year nears its end, we reflect upon the happenings that have transpired over the course of the last year. In the month of December two dates stand out for us culturally and symbolically, those of International Human Rights Day, which falls on December 10, International Day of the Migrant, on December 18, and the December Holidays, including Las Posadas, celebrated in Latin America and by U.S.-based Latino Immigrants. What make these days especially pertinent, are the larger themes of peace, inclusion, and the offering of shelter for those who seek peace, tranquility, and a dignified existence.

 

It is in this season, and with the aforementioned themes in mind, that we support, and stand in solidarity with those who flee violence and systemic negligence abroad, and continue to work at home to fight for social justice in our immigrant communities. Though there are many factors at play globally, which impact migration away from one’s place of origin and draws someone to a distant land in search of a better existence, we also wish to acknowledge the factors at work domestically, which place many families in a state of distress. These factors, which include, but are not limited to; rampant xenophobia, racism, anti-immigrant legislation, classism, denial of basic civil and human rights, and due process in the legal system, have worked to systematically dehumanize our immigrant sisters and brothers.

 

One prominent example is with the institutional xenophobia as practiced in the State of Texas. In lieu of omnibus legislation to reform immigration, the Obama Administration issued an executive order, establishing the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program, as a way to offer relief from deportation to undocumented parents of U.S. citizen children (the order also expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals “DACA” program). Within a month of the November 2014 unveiling of the DAPA program, the State of Texas and several other states with Republican Governors, filed a suit in the District Court for the Southern District of Texas, to block the implementation of the order.

 

A year since the suit, the executive order lies dormant as legal challenges ensue. Court injunctions aside, the State of Texas has also used its agents to deny birth certificates to the U.S. citizen children of immigrant parents. Likewise, the aforementioned action seems to also be in line with the right wing’s rhetoric and continued insistence on denying these children the protections afforded to them by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In essence, the act of denying birth certificates, in turn leaves the children in legal limbo, as they are treated as second class citizens.

 

This year on International Human Rights Day, as well as on International Day of the Migrant, we reaffirm and reiterate our previous stance in support of our communities that are socially and economically marginalized. We side with the downtrodden, those who are denied the opportunity to better their social condition. It is with this thinking in mind that we also support the struggles of our sisters and brothers in other communities of color who also fight against police brutality, economic inequality, and other maladies that come as a result of institutional neglect. We also invite all others of like mind to stand with us in the struggle for civil, human, and worker rights for all, regardless of place of origin. An injury to one, is an injury to all.

 

 

EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE.

 

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PRESS RELEASE: Thousands take to the streets of Seattle for the Annual May Day March

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MEDIA ADVISORY

For Immediate Release: Friday, May 1, 2015

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

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

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

SEATTLE – An estimated 4,500 -5,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Seattle to participate in the 2015 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.

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 Downtown Seattle. 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 middle of the city. In all, over 50 organizations and community groups endorsed the 2015 march and provided the resources to mobilize their own members, in addition to others in the community. Organizations involved with direct mobilization for the march were Students for Farm Worker Justice, MEChA, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, and parishioners from St. Mary’s Church, the Mexica Danza Group Ce Atl Tonalli, and Community Alliance for Global Justice, among many more.

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 police brutality with the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner as well as the most recent slaying of Antonio Zambrano Montes at the hands of police in Pasco, Washington.

“It’s important to acknowledge these shared struggles,” noted Anna Hackman, an organizer for the May 1st Action Coalition. “Many immigrants experience not only discrimination based on their documented status, but are also relegated to the social and economic margins. Many are forced into low paying jobs, and have interactions with law enforcement that closely resemble the interactions that native born people of color experience with police.” Many in attendance echoed the same concerns, especially in recent days, as evidenced in the City of Baltimore where institutional neglect and police violence created a sense of animosity and distrust that boiled over into riots with the killing of Freddie Gray.

According to organizer Jorge Quiroga, the march was a great collaborative effort, even with a slightly smaller turnout for 2015. Mr. Quiroga attributed the decline in participation to the proliferation of news reports about possible “infiltration” of the afternoon march. “We’ve had this march since 1999. Over 16 years, we’ve always been organized and nothing bad has ever occurred. My concern with the stories that the Seattle Police Department are spreading, is that it is creating a chilling effect on participation.” Quiroga further noted, “It is very deceptive, very unprofessional, and amounts to little more than fear mongering.” “It is an attempt to silence and mute our organizational efforts.” It is not known to what degree the effect of SPD media outreach is intentional, but one thing all organizers did agree on, is that there is a very real need to continue organizing in spite of hurdles or impediments. There is little room for error as organizers take it upon themselves to be responsible for helping better social conditions to ensure that future generations are able to live a dignified existence.

EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE.

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, MayDayPNW.

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List of Organizations Endorsing the 2015 May Day March.

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Endorsing Organizations for 2015 May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights (List updated: April 30, 2015)

 

 

Aerospace Machinists Lodge #751
AFT Local 1789
American Civil Liberties Union of Washington
American Friends Service Committee
Asian Pacific Labor Alliance (APALA)
BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest
Casa Latina
Ce Atl Tonalli
Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites
Community Alliance for Global Justice
El Centro de la Raza
European Dissent
FAST Jobs Coalition
Got Green
ILWU Local 19
Indonesian Lutheran Fellowship
Laborers Local 242
Laborers Local 440
La Raza Student Commission
LELO
Martin Luther King County Labor Council
MEChA de University of Washington
Mexicanos Unidos en Washington
NAACP
NROC/Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA)
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
One America
OPEIU Local 8
Orgullo P’urhepecha
Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action
Puget Sound Medic Collective
PUSO
Real Change
Revolution Staging
Sawat Solidarity Fund
Seattle NOW
SEIU 6
SEIU Healthcare 775NW
Social Justice Fund NW
Socialist Workers Party
St. Mary’s Church
Students for Farm Worker Justice
Teamsters Local 117
UAW Local 4121
UFCW Local 21
UNITE HERE Local 8
Washington Alliance for Retired Americans (WASARA)
Washington CAN!
Washington New Sanctuary Movement
Washington State Labor Council
WFSE 304