What Are The May Day Protests? Immigrant Rights Are A Uniting Theme In 2017
May 1 has traditionally been recognized as "International Workers' Day," a day to promote workers' rights and advocate for proper working conditions, especially for immigrants. But this year's festivities will reportedly take on a new sense of urgency as thousands are expected to fill the streets of major cities across the country to protest for immigrant rights this May Day. The protesters will gather in opposition to President Trump's controversial, anti-immigrant policies, just days after he celebrated his 100th day in office.
According to the official May Day protest website, the protests will be coordinated by a coalition of human rights groups, and will advocate for a range of issues and initiatives, including immigrant rights, health care reform, and Black Lives Matter, among others. The leadership of the movement encourages citizens to participate not only by marching on Monday, but also by organizing walkouts or taking the day off, similar to the "A Day Without An Immigrant" protest.
"We're seeing an unprecedented amount of enthusiasm and activity," Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, told The Associated Press. "It's driven by the fact that [the] Trump administration has made immigration the tip of the spear."
Since beginning his campaign for president, Trump has made what many have deemed to be derogatory statements about Mexicans, and has proposed deporting DREAMers: young, undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children and are currently protected by an Obama-era policy. He has also signed legislation that pulls back protections for women and minority workers.
Marches are currently planned in over 40 cities across the country (you can find one near you here), including New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. The organizers hope that crowds will send a message to Trump that immigrants and allies are not afraid to stand against his policies.
May 1 also happens to be "Loyalty Day," an unofficial holiday that has been annually declared by U.S. Presidents since the Red Scare in 1921. On Saturday, Trump announced his commitment to this day, which is described in the U.S. Code as a "reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and ... the recognition of the heritage of American freedom." The May Day protest, which will coincidentally occur on the same day, will hopefully challenge Trump to question just who that "freedom" extends to.