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.