Yesterday’s May Day Marches

May 2nd, 2010 · 10 Comments

For many May Day is known as International Worker’s Day, and in the US, it has turned into a day where many advocate for immigration reform. After all, one of the main issues driving immigration to the United States involves labor.

Yesterday, there were May Day rallies and marches throughout the US, and fortunately Pablo Manriquez, a writer and photographer, out of Washington, D.C. was able to capture these photos from the event in Lafayette Park and contribute them to LatinoPoliticsBlog:

I find the picture with the children especially poignant since families are being separated by the immigration raids leaving US born children behind in many instances.

Worth noting is that Representative Luis Gutierrez got arrested at the D.C. protest yesterday. The New York Times reports:

In Washington, Mr. Gutierrez sat crossed-legged on the sidewalk in front of the White House at about 3 p.m., holding a small American flag and wearing a white T-shirt with red letters that read, ‘Arrest me not my friends.’ The protesters each held letters that spelled out the message, ‘Obama, stop deporting our families.’

Even though many knew that Gutierrez had planned in advance to get arrested in this act of civil disobedience, I think that his actions yesterday showed some solidarity for the immigration advocacy movement, especially in light of recent events in Arizona. We can chalk Gutierrez’s actions up to political theater, but he put himself out there.

I believe that marches and rallies need to be followed up with higher voter participation, especially this coming November for the midterm elections. Fernando Espuelas penned a great piece in the Huffington Post encouraging people to stop marching and to start voting. I agree with the essence of his argument, although I think that marching can get people energized, especially our youth and those who may not be as engaged and for those who cannot yet vote due to their immigration status. What if we had voter registration tables at these marches and then passed out small cards with the numbers to the House of Representatives switchboard with simple instructions on how to make an advocacy call? Espuelas takes his argument a step further in expressing the need for a new crop of leaders who will demonstrate success in enacting legislation instead of marching:

These so-called leaders inhabit an alternative universe of political action where failure is accepted as further example that Latinos don’t have a voice in the United States and therefore require more marches to “be heard”.

This cynical manipulation of peoples’ emotions, dreams and hopes, neither serves the cause of the Latino community nor America as a whole.

Until we come to grips with the reality of the situation — we don’t vote anywhere near the levels of whites and African Americans — our relative power in Congress will always be weak.

Not facing this reality is a self-actualization of political impotence.

This call to action is nothing new on LatinoPoliticsBlog, as Seneca and I have both opined that the our power in Congress and overall representation in the federal bureaucracy is weak at best. For those of us who are citizens and of legal voting age and haven’t been convicted of a felony, there is no excuse for not casting a ballot.

Tags: Civil Rights · community organizing and activism · Congressional Hispanic Caucus · Immigration · Labor Relations · Rep. Luis Gutierrez

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 irma // May 3, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Here are the lyrics to a song by Barbara Streisand that seems to sum my feelings about all this :

    There is not a morning I begin without
    A thousand questions running through my mind,
    That I dont try to find the reason and the logic
    In the world that God designed.
    The reason why
    a bird was given wings,
    If not to fly and praise the sky
    With every song it sings.
    Whats right or wrong,
    Where I belong
    Within the scheme of things…
    And why have eyes that see
    And arms that reach
    Unless youre meant to know
    Theres something more?
    If not to hunger for the meaning of it all,
    Then tell me what a soul is for?
    Why have the wings
    Unless youre meant to fly?
    And tell me please, why have a mind
    If not to question why?
    And tell me where-
    Where is it written what it is
    Im meant to be, that I cant dare
    To have the chance to pick the fruit of every tree,
    Or have my share of every sweet-imagined possibility?
    Just tell me where, tell me where?
    If I were only meant to tend the nest,
    Then why does my imagination sail
    Across the mountains and the seas,
    Beyond the make-believe of any fairy tale?
    Why have the thirst if not to drink the wine?
    And what a waste to have a taste
    Of things that can’t he mine?
    And tell me where, where is it written what it is
    I’m meant to be, that I can’t dare-
    To find the meanings in the mornings that I see,
    Or have my share of every sweet-imagined possibility?
    Just tell me where- where is it written?
    Tell me where-
    Or if it’s written anywhere?

  • 2 Pam Loewy // May 3, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    telegraph21 (, a new video magazine featuring outstanding documentary films and art videos from around the world, is featuring video excerpts
    on Mexico and the Mexican-American experience that are particularly timely given immigration reform issues.

    Monday’s video excerpt is from Those Who Remain, an award-winning documentary about Mexican families whose relatives have left their homeland for the United States. On Wednesday, El General explores the legacy of General Plutarco Elias Calles, who became president of Mexico in 1924. And on Friday, Tell ‘Em Who You Are looks the impact of the U.S. government’s border wall on a family’s ancestral land.

    Please feel free to embed our videos or post links:
    Monday, May 3, 2010
    Wednesday, May 5, 2010
    Friday, May 7, 2010‘em-who-you-are

    Please contact me if you’d like more information about telegraph21.

  • 3 Reyfeo // May 3, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Here’s one from Michael Jackson:

    “BEAT IT!”

  • 4 Miss Karma // May 4, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    I have a better one and I’m sure Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, and Crazy Horse would agree:
    Courtesy of Alicia Keys:

    “…what goes around comes around what goes up must come down, now who’s lying desiring to come back to me…”

    Or even a better courtesy of the Black Lady in the harbor:

    “Give me your tired, your poor

    “Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

    “The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

    “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

    “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    now marinate on that!

  • 5 What the ... // May 5, 2010 at 12:32 am

    The Sitting Bull and the Red Cloud is definitely history to reflect on, but you forgot the the part about the Great White Devil…

  • 6 Benito Camela // May 8, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Que interesante, ya quisiera ver lo que nos pasaria si hiciermos este tipo de protestas en el Zocalo.
    Mis hermanos mejicanos sirvan de ejemplo….

  • 7 Benito Camela // May 8, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Hmmm…. someone should has Felipe Calderon what is Mexico’s immigration policy towards central americans.
    Nos tratan peor que animales… que verguenza

  • 8 Anna // May 9, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Re: “Felipe Calderon what is Mexico’s immigration policy towards central americans”

    The United States has ordered the southern Mexican border is closed because of the war on drugs. If Mexico doesn’t close it, the United States will call them “non-compliant” and fine them.

  • 9 Benito Camela // May 9, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Anna, that is hilarious…..Are you serious?
    “the United States will ….fine them”
    US has the power to impose fines on Mexico?
    They can close the southern border but not the northern one….how conveeeeeenient…
    Que barbara…….
    US has the power to “order” Mexico? Are you kidding me? too funny…..

  • 10 What the ... // May 10, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Anna, “United States will call them “non-compliant” and fine them”

    Are you referring to some of the provisions in the NAFTA agreement regarding the border?

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