Advocates for immigrants’ and workers’ rights staged a small demonstration in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday to call for an end to budget cutbacks that hurt working families. They also announced plans for another march on May 1.
The demonstrators say working and middle class families are being squeezed, and they say now is the time to send a message to congress.
“What we see is we’re going backwards. Not immigrants only. The middle class. Working people. We keep losing and losing,” says Juan Jose Gutierrez of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition. “Our wages keep going down. There seems to be no relief in site. In the mean time, the culprits, the ones that created the mess, seem to get all kinds of benefits. The banks, the big companies. We think there’s something that does not jive. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Organizers of this year’s May Day demonstration say issues facing immigrant families are strongly linked to issues facing working families.
"The people are losing benefits," Gutierrez says. "And what are we getting for it? The explanation that we’re given by our leadership in congress is starting to make less and less sense. It’s unacceptable. So May 1t is going to be an instance in which people are going to try and bring sanity back to civic participation.”
The coalition of immigrants rights groups, unions and clergy are sending out the call to get people to the May 1 march. They say they represent working families and they want to show that they are a political force to be reckoned with. Mike Garcia, president of SEIU local 1877, rallied the crowd Wednesday at Olympic and Broadway.
“We are California,” says Garcia. “In California we know how to fight, we know how to organize, we know how to win, and on May 1 we will march again with the largest numbers ever because the time is now. The time to fight back is now. We must get on the streets May 1.”
In recent years, more than 100,00 people have marched in the Los Angeles May Day demonstration.