Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tucson May Day March draws 1000s supporting human rights

Thousands of people marched through Tucson's south side to Armory Park to commemorate May Day and show their support for human rights and immigration reform.

The multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural crowd of an estimated 7000 marchers snaked through neighborhoods chanting and waving homemade signs. The crowd, which was approximately 30% non-Hispanic, was so large that it was impossible to see the beginning or the end until it dispersed at Armory Park to hear speeches and music.

Although May Day Marches have commemorated workers' rights for more than a century, they have evolved into celebrations of human rights in recent years. With the passage of Arizona's new strict anti-illegal immigrant bill a week ago, May Day Marches across the country focused on civil rights for everyone in the US--regardless of status. The march in Los Angeles was the largest.

Several speakers, including Dolores Huerta, Congressman Raul Grijalva, and singer Linda Ronstadt addressed the marchers in both Spanish and English.

Huerta, who organized migrant farm workers in the 1960s with Cesar Chavez, urged the audience to forget petty differences and work together for comprehensive immigration reform-- now. A life-long activitist, Huerta told everyone not to leave Arizona but to stay and vote Governor Jan Brewer and her cronies out of office.

Grijalva, who came under attack for his call for a boycott of Arizona due to SB1070, said that when reporters asked him who they would see at May Day March, he replied that they would see America-- a diversified country.

Across the street from the May Day rally, a small but noisy, all-white group of SB1070 supporters gathered. From behind the police line, they tried to provoke the May Day Marchers by flipping the bird and jeering, but their voices were drowned out by the Aztec drummers and dancers.

Pictures speak louder than words. Please check out the attached slide show and the KVOA video.

This article originally appeared in my Progressive Examiner column. To see the slide show and great video coverage from KVOA, click on the link.

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