Peaceful May Day rallies focus support on communities of color

Across the Bay Area, May Day celebrations and peaceful demonstrations on Saturday brought crowds together in solidarity with groups around the world honoring International Workers Day.

This year there was significantly more representation and calls for change to support immigrant rights, as well as black and Asian American rights

In San Jose, a parade of peaceful protesters and community activists marched toward city hall for a May Day rally.

"The working people from all around the world come together, you know, as one movement to celebrate our power, to meet with each other, and to strengthen our collective energy," Irom Thockchom, an organizer with the party for socialism and liberation, and a member of the San Jose May Day coalition, said.

The San Jose May Day coalition called for three major reforms: Affordable housing, fair pay for essential workers, and papers for all immigrants.

The rally was also an opportunity to give voice to the challenges facing Santa Clara's Asian American community.

"There's been a lot of reports of wage theft that's been happening, not adequate PPE, ongoing exploitation," Justher Futierrez, part of the Filipino contingent for International Workers Day said. "There's also been discrimination that's been happening."

In San Francisco, iconic civil rights activist Angela Davis called for an end to police violence against the black community.

"We say no more George Floyds, no more Breonna Taylors, no more Daunte Wrights. No more Oscar Grants. No more Stephon Clarks. No more Sean Monterrosa." Davis said, naming black Americans who have died at the hands of police.

More than 1,000 people took part in recreating a famous 1934 May Day march from the Embarcadero to the Civic Center by San Francisco's City Hall, calling for the United States Senate to pass legislation aimed at easing barriers to unionize, vote, and hold law enforcement accountable in court.

"To pass the PRO Act, to pass the For the People Act, to pass the George Floyd [Justice in] Policing act, and to pass finally, to restore voting rights by passing the John Lewis [Voting Rights] Act. Those are our demands today," Tefere Gebre, executive vice president of the AFL-CIO said.

Many workers participating in the May Day events throughout the Bay Area were hopeful showing strength through solidarity would lead to meaningful change.

"The way that we're going to get any kind of change at all," Rachel Jackson, part of People's Strike Bay Area, said, "the way that we're going to have any kind of a hopeful future and a future for the planet is that if we stand together."