"Silence never won rights. They are not handed down from above; they are forced by pressures from below." —Roger Baldwin
What is May Day?
During the late 19th century, the Industrial Age was in its heyday. Progress was vast but little attention was paid to the unimaginable inequalities and abuses suffered by the burgeoning worker class. So, the laborers began the fight for better working conditions by organizing peaceful protests, rallies, and strikes, while the upper class worked to halt those efforts. The push and pull between the working class and the upper class came to a proverbial head when and unknown person bombed a peaceful labor demonstration in Chicago. That event is known as “Haymarket Affair.” In aftermath of the attack, the first suspects were immigrants and anyone known as a community union organizer.
Protests, rallies, demands for action from elected officials, attacks on the poor and immigrants… Sounds a lot like today, but, as the saying goes, history repeats itself…
Now, the inequalities seem to be growing. Workers continue losing their jobs to changing industries and to advancing technology. Unfortunately, immigrants seem to be the ones getting blamed for the shortfall.
Immigrants are a vibrant part of the USA working class and therefore the American economy. We have used our labor, our voices and purchasing power to lift many parts areas of the country that were relegated to the deterioration and ruin. Our contributions are immeasurable and it’s time we come together to demand that the scapegoating end and start building for the benefit of communities throughout the country.
It’s at times like these, when working people of all backgrounds - be it immigrants, coal and steel workers, service employees and day laborers - need to come together and fight for respect, dignity, equal rights, and opportunity.
May Day (May 1st) was chosen to commemorate the Haymarket Affair and is internationally recognized as a day to celebrate, appreciate, and acknowledge the working class. Lets revisit the history of May Day and remind the world of its origin and let it become a symbol of the working class once again.