In 2006 over 10,000 people took to the streets of South Modesto and then to Downtown in support of worker and immigrant rights both locally and globally. Millions marched in cities throughout the country including New York, Washington, Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Denver, Phoenix, New Orleans, and Milwaukee. The Day was May 1st. The international day of worker struggle and most recently a time to fight for the lowest paid, over worked, underrepresented, and most criminalized of American workers: immigrants.
International Workers’ Day (or May Day) began as the commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, when police fired on workers during a general strike for the eight hour workday, killing several demonstrators. Since then it has spread all over the globe and become a staple in many communities where the working and unemployed populations are exploited and grinded up in the machine.
Since its impressive massive turnout in 06, the May Day March has occurred every year on Crows Landing Road in South Modesto. This year came with an extra feeling of importance with the passage of Arizona State Senate Bill 1070. The march has not returned to Downtown Modesto YET, but if workers and immigrants continue to be treated as lower citizens and exploited for the profit of others, it is good to know that Modesto is capable of having an unpermitted march through downtown, 10,000 strong.
Keep the tradition alive in Modesto, see you on May 1st 2011.