With the Trump administration intensifying attacks on Native Americans, immigrants, refugees, trans individuals, Muslims, women, people of color in general, and the poor, a coalition led by immigrants and workers is aiming to mark this year’s May Day with the biggest workers strike in over a decade.
This year’s “A Day Without Immigrants” comes after a similar call in February and over ten years after the 2006 May Day strike that brought more than one million people out in protest against the Republican-sponsored draconian Sensenbrenner Bill. The proposal sought to criminalize undocumented immigrants and those close to them, and to reinforce tougher border security. In large part due to forceful organizing efforts by grassroots immigrants rights and social justice groups, the Sensenbrenner Bill was defeated. The protests also made May Day, which started in the late nineteenth century during the fight for the eight hour work day, a powerful tool in the fight for immigrants rights.
Of course, while that particular proposal failed to become law, the anti-immigrant sentiment that fueled it remains embedded in the minds of many Americans and elected officials.
The core of this year’s action is a nationwide May Day strike. Organizers are asking immigrants and allies to skip school, work, shopping, and banking to show the value and power of our labor and purchasing power, and to reject discrimination and hate. The aims of the strike look beyond the Trump administration and beyond even attacks on immigrants, as the 6th Annual Immigrant Worker Justice Tour #May1Strike wrote in the description of their event: “When workers, immigrants, women, Muslims, black and brown, indigenous, queer and trans communities face exploitation, criminalization, incarceration, deportation, violence and harassment, we strike.”
You can take the pledge to join “La Huelga,” or “the strike,” by signing up here. You can also check out Cosecha’s guide to participating here and its guide to supporting workers (including donating to a strike fund or providing legal support) here. If you’re a student, staff member or professor at a university or college, The Nation has partnered with the International Women’s Strike to promote their specific call for anyone working at universities to join the strike in solidarity. You can sign that pledge here.