by Sojourner Staff
UTICA – On Monday, May 1 between 6 and 9 p.m., local citizens will hold a rally in support of immigrant rights and worker justice as part of national May Day actions. It will be held at the DeSales Center, 309 Genesee Street, Utica, across the street from Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute. Parking is available in the lot next to the building.
The rally will feature live music, film screenings, literature, potluck, refreshments, networking, and union and immigrant rights information. Attendees are encouraged to bring a dish to share and signs. The rally is free and open to the public.
We are looking for additional speakers and musicians to play solidarity and muli-ethnic music. Also, we need folks to bring drums for chanting. Please add your group as a co-sponsor. For more information, please call 315.725.0974 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local citizens will also join a national strike billed as a “Day Without Immigrants” to demonstrate that the country depends on the labor of immigrants and working class people. Hundreds of thousands of workers have already pledged to strike in what organizers expect to be the largest national strike since the Megamarches of 2006. The event is co-sponsored by the Central New York Citizens in Action and Industrial Workers of the World labor union.
Monday, May 1, is May Day, a traditional recognition of workers around the world and a day when U.S. immigrants and their allies display their numbers and their strength. This May Day, local groups will join allies in in events across the country to demonstrate that immigrant communities are integral to our society.
Groups are urging citizens five ways they can be involved on May 1
- Strike in solidarity – Tens of thousands of immigrants and their allies will refuse to work on May 1. Strike in solidarity from your own work if it is possible.
- Attend the May Day event in Utica,
- Boycott – Do not buy anything on May 1.
- Print and post “No Ban. No Wall. No Raids.” posters in your neighborhood. Click here to see them.
- Wear yellow.
On May 1, local citizens will stand together to affirm that Trump’s bigoted policies that target and harm immigrant communities—from the Muslim Ban to increased raids on undocumented Americans—are unacceptable. They will be sending a clear message: #NoBanNoWallNoRaids.
John Furman, President of the Central New York Citizens in Action, said: “Hundreds of millions of Americans are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. For over 100 years, May Day has been a day of solidarity for worker rights and immigrant rights. May 1 is the first step in a series of strikes and boycotts that will change the conversation on immigration in the United States.. We believe that when the country recognizes it depends on immigrant labor to function, we will win permanent protection from deportation for the 11 million undocumented immigrants. Most undocumented immigrants file federal taxes every year, paying an estimated $12 billion in state and local taxes, and over $13 billion federally for programs they cannot use. They work hard in farms growing fruits and vegetables, in restaurants cooking and serving meals, as baby sitters and health care workers taking care of children, the sick, disabled, and elderly, in construction building homes, in landscaping, in factories and in their own businesses producing goods and services that Americans demand, and through tax contributions financing benefits that many Americans receive.”
Among Upstate New York cities, Utica has the highest proportion of immigrants, 24 percent of its total population. The city of Utica has always been a city of immigrants, a place where Catholics and Jews, Irish Germans Poles, Italians, and other European groups built community beginning in the 19th century; a city where African Americans migrated to escape oppression in the South; a city that has been a model of refugee resettlement for 40 years; a city where immigrants from war-torn countries, including thousands of Muslim immigrants, have helped stabilize the population and economy; a city that has benefited from the rich diversity of communities of people from Bosnia Vietnam, Cambodia, Russia, Somali, Nepal, Ukraine Dominican Republic, and many other countries and a place that cannot be imagined in the 21st century without its many groups that contribute so much to Utica’s culture, economy, and life.