South Bay May Day protests expected to be biggest in years

A number of businesses in San Jose are planning to shut their doors next Monday as part of a May Day protest. Given today's political climate, organizers expect it to be one of the biggest strikes in years. On Willow Street, stores already have signs on their storefronts notifying customers they won't be open on Monday.

For the first time in 35 years, Willow Market in San Jose will be closed on May 1 to take part in a nationwide May Day strike.
“We are very proud and happy to participate this year,” said Yocelin Macias of Willow Market. “It shows support within our community.”

Willow Market is among several participating businesses in San Jose. Facundo Segura is a customer and supports the businesses' closure.
“It’s pretty good,” said Segura. “They are helping the community.”
Historically the day honors the contributions of international workers. Organizers are anticipating a different kind of May Day, the first one under a Trump presidency.

“Whether you are fighting for immigration rights or LGBT rights or educational rights they are all the same rights and we are fighting as the same administration that is taking away all of our rights,” said Community Organizer Shaunn Cartwright.

This year's three mile planned route starts at Mexican Heritage Plaza down East Santa Clara Street ending near the SAP Center. Organizers expect it to be the biggest march since 2006 when an estimated 100,000 people took to the streets.

Jeremy Barousse is with the immigrant rights network Siren. He said the march is for immigration reform against a border wall and Muslim ban.

“This is an opportunity to vent and show that will rise up, we are resisting and we are using this collective energy for something good,” said Barousse.

Cartwright is part of the May Day coalition. She said the protest is also about workers losing healthcare and jobs.

“The one day of inconvenience people feel they can use that as solidarity for all the inconveniences that thousands and hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country every single day,” said Cartwright.

Organizers said the protest will be peaceful and family friendly. San Jose Police said they're working with the organizers to ensure adequate staffing for the day.