SAN JOSE, CA — Protest chants in different languages were among the many ways organizers plan to build unity, in anticipation of the annual International Workers Day demonstration on May 1st.
The strike commonly referred to as “May Day” calls on all people — including workers, immigrants, Muslims, women, and members of the LGBTQ community — to join in the resistance to defend schools, unions, and the environment.
“Under the Trump administration it is immigrant women and LGBTQ workers that are facing the brunt of his policies. Our families are being deported, detained. Our youth, our children are having a hard time obtaining an education because of student loans and student debt. And a lot of the policies that Trump is making is really attacking our rights to reproductive health,” says Katherine Nasol of GABRIELA USA. ” And also protecting against discrimination, as queer and gender identity non-conforming people.”
Fil-Am organizers have added that the importance of participating in such a demonstration provides a voice to many people who feel silenced in the current political and social climate.
“I work with so many youth that express sentiments of, I don’t feel wanted. I don’t feel part of this country, I come here and I work,” said Leilani Drew Manuta of Anakbayan Silicon Valley. “Whether they’re in high school, whether they’re in college they are facing a lot of obstacles just to exist.”
International Worker’s Day is also to acknowledge the vast number of overseas Filipino workers, and how many continue to experience maltreatment while trying to send money back home to their families and in turn support the Philippine economy.
“When we think about the 6,000 Filipinos leaving the country everyday we see the enormous sacrifice being made,” said Justher Gutierrez from Anakbayan Silicon Valley. “And so when we go out to things like may day we make we are honoring those sacrifices and we’re also addressing the injustices they are facing so they don’t have to continue making such un-do sacrifices.”
In past May Days, hundreds of thousands of people have participated in the protest.
Organizers say the goal this year is to reach one million people flooding the streets.