Los Angeles: Well over 50,000 immigrant workers and labor, civil rights and community supporters participated in morning and evening May Day demonstrations calling for legalization of undocumented immigrants and an end to dragnet deportation raids. It was L.A.’s largest turnout for immigrant rights this year.
A major feature was hundreds of young workers pushing baby strollers with their citizen children aboard. One section of the morning march was led by several dozen strollers stretched across downtown Broadway Street.
Cardinal Roger Mahony urged the afternoon demonstration to step up lobbying of Congress with letters, phone calls and visits.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and community activists are demanding a full investigation of a police attack on an isolated section of the afternoon demonstration, in which police clubbed and shot rubber bullets at peaceful demonstrators and media, sending at least 10 to the hospital.
Northern California: A crowd filled the plaza in front of Oakland’s City Hall, erupting in stormy applause as Mayor Ronald Dellums declared, “In this place, at this time, we say, no, you are not oppressed, you are not harmed, you are not abused. This is a sanctuary city!” He added, “We come together with one voice, to say to the federal government: Stop the raids!” The rally was addressed by other elected officials and union, community and faith leaders. Many immigrants and supporters had marched miles from East Oakland to join the throng. Thousands more rallied in San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Rosa and other communities.
Phoenix: Tens of thousands marched to support progressive immigrant rights changes and a path to citizenship. The crowd filled most of the State Capitol grounds, where featured speaker Elizabeth Kucinich, wife of presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, declared, “Immigration issues are a crisis of equality and poverty, not a problem of law enforcement.” State Rep. Leah Landrum urged “unity around these issues within the African American community, the Asian community, and the Native American community as well as people of all ethnicities.”
Detroit: May Day began with 15,000, some with signs saying, “Work hard, but no benefits,” marching to demand a simple path to citizenship and an end to raids. Centro Obrero Director Elena Herrada told the crowd, “We are not giving up until we have full legalization for everybody.” Detroit City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson declared, “We are family. An assault on one is an assault on all.”
Detroit Metro AFL-CIO President Saundra Williams chaired an evening rally at IBEW Local 58 supporting HR 676, the Conyers single-payer health care bill. Just as the eight-hour day was won when the odds seemed slim, the same can happen on national health care, Marilyn Clement, Health Care NOW national coordinator, told the rally.
New Haven, Conn.: A late afternoon rally for immigrant rights stopped downtown traffic, with big support from clergy, elected officials, labor and student groups.
Marilyn Bechtel, Joelle Fishman, George Mores, Rosalio Muñoz and John Rummel contributed to this article.