CHICAGO — It’s a May Day story my mother never lets me forget. Both my parents, avid community activists at the time, were lead organizers of a local march and rally for international workers’ day and immigrant rights in the Pilsen neighborhood on Chicago’s southwest side. The year was 1977 and the march was scheduled for May 1.

That morning, my mother, who was pregnant with me, began to feel labor pains. She thought it was nothing to worry about but the pains became sharper and she decided to have my father take her to the hospital.

It was morning time and my father was responsible for making sure the sound system and speakers were at the rally for the May Day action, which was set to begin at noon. My mother insisted my father stay with her at the hospital. In those days no one had cell phones and you couldn’t call someone to pick up the equipment instead, she recalls.

When the doctors checked my mother they found my heart rate was low. They said they needed to do an emergency C-section surgery to get me out right away. They asked if someone was waiting outside the room. “Yes, my husband,” she replied. Little did she know that my father had left the building. “Oh, boy, that was your father for you,” she says.

My mother became worried and anxious. “Do anything you have to do, just save my baby,” she said. All of a sudden she felt the urge to push. “I need to push, I need to push,” she told the doctor. “Are you sure, mother?” the doctor asked. “Yes!”

“They wanted me to wait but I couldn’t and the doctor literally caught you,” my mom tells me. As I was born around 1:05 p.m. my father, the late Rudy Lozano Sr., was marching down the streets of Chicago for the rights of workers and immigrants.

My parents decided to give me the middle name Alberto after Albert Parsons, one of the labor leaders who fought for worker unity and for the eight-hour workday in Chicago back in 1886. Along with other leaders, Parsons was rounded up and executed after being accused of inciting a riot with the Chicago police at Haymarket Square. Parsons and his comrades are remembered as martyrs who sparked an international movement for working class unity. They, and the history of the U.S. labor movement, are honored worldwide every May Day.

This May Day I turned 31 years old. My father was only 31 when he was gunned down 25 years ago. He is remembered as a loving son, brother, husband and father, and an outstanding union and community organizer. He dedicated his life to fighting passionately for social justice, labor solidarity and the equal rights of all people.

My father believed in building the broadest possible unity among all workers with or without documents, and he lived a life committed to the values and traditions of May Day’s history.

If Rudy Lozano Sr. were alive today, I know he would have been proudly marching alongside my mother and my two brothers this May Day. I am also confident that he, too, would be marching toward November to ensure that we make voter history in this country and reverse the Bush policies.

I know in my heart that every May 1, my father is smiling somewhere in heaven, thinking of my mother and sharing with angels a May Day story he will never forget.

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