By Ernesto Arce, May 4, 2016
As participation of thousands this weekend in Southern California Mayday marches shows, California is energized for Bernie Sanders…and against Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.
Ernesto Arce reports from Los Angeles.
[Ernesto Arce]: International Worker’s Day was commemorated in Los Angeles with several marches that highlighted the fight for immigration reform, the push for a $15 federal minimum wage, and support for socialist candidate Bernie Sanders.
But those issues were eclipsed by strong sentiments against Donald Trump, whose rallies in California led to clashes between his supporters and opponents.
Juan Jose Gutierrez, an organizer with the Full Rights For All Immigrants Coalition, said his efforts were focused on defeating Trump and his anti-immigrant hate speech.
[Juan Jose Gutierrez]: “The main message today is stop racism, stop hate, stop Donald Trump. Our response was symbolized by what happened in Costa Mesa and in Burlingame over the last few days where he was repudiated and practically chased out of the state. This is California here we don’t build walls, we tear them down.”
[Ernesto Arce]: In 2006, mass marches for just immigration reform brought out millions of people to the streets in every major U.S. city. Los Angeles brought out the largest crowd with an estimated one million people clogging miles of Broadway in the city’s downtown, spurred by HR4437, the Sensenbrenner bill that called for mass deportations and unprecedented security measures along the border and throughout the country.
Then like now, advocates for undocumented immigrant communities partnered with labor turning International Worker’s Day into a day that focuses on immigration reform and other social justice demands.
Home caregiver Patsy Walton, with SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, has grown tired of the network media narrative that service workers are getting a raise at the expense of more skilled laborers.
[Patsy Walton]: “It’s a lot of things that we have to pay for and we’re not getting enough money to pay for it. And then when they do give us a raise, they go up on taxes. So basically we’re not getting a raise. So why not shoot for the 15 dollars?”
[Ernesto Arce]: As once march made its way through the edge of northeastern downtown LA, it passed the Metropolitan detention center where immigrants awaiting final deportation are jailed.
In one of the day’s more moving moments, marchers looked up to the large building, cheered, waved, and chanted to those in lockup: You’re not alone.
Los Jornaleros del Norte, a Mexican regional band comprised of day laborer activists, performed an impromptu concert as law enforcement looked on.
[Chanting]: “The border patrol, the police, all the same crap! [translation]”
[Ernesto Arce]: Organizers of the four different downtown LA marches said the divisive Trump candidacy had created a compelling motive for different groups to come together.