Democracy Now: May Day Rallies Celebrate Unity; Labor Unions and Immigrants, Marching Side by Side

Under the banner of “Wisconsin Solidarity March and Rally for Immigrant & Worker Rights” more than 100,000 protestors took to the streets on Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee to fight back against Governor Walker’s attacks on collective bargaining rights, immigrant rights, and dramatic cuts to public education and health care.  After five years of annual May Day marches organized by Voces de la Frontera, this year’s march marked both an unprecedented turnout and collaboration between Voces and organized labor.  In recognition of the need for unity amongst all working people, national AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and other local and state labor leaders joined tens of thousands of immigrant and Latino workers and students. (Photo: Matt Brusky)



Prior to the march, statements in solidarity were made outside the Voces office by Mayor Tom Barrett, elected state representative Jo Casta Zamarippa, NAACP President James Hall, in addition to other elected officials and community leaders. 


At the rally at Veteran’s Park, President Trumka gave a fiery and patriotic speech, concluding “Let this May Day, 2011, herald a new era of solidarity for us. Let it ring in the time when no one is left in the shadows- when the circumstances of your birth do not determine your fate, when the rights and the justice that those who came before us lived and died for are shared by all of us.  Side by side, shoulder-to-shoulder, united—We are one!”


Trumka was joined by Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt, Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin President Mahlon Mitchell, AFT Local 212 President Michael Rosen, and Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES!) representatives Kennia Coronado and Maricela Aguilar, amongst others.


According to Voces executive director Christine Neumann-Ortiz, “For six years now, we have continued to use our collective voice because working people, native-born and those who came from all over the world, gave their blood and sweat to build this country and its democracy and we will not allow it to be stolen and destroyed.”


Voces de la Frontera will again join with organized labor to mobilize the community to the Capitol in Madison on May 14th in opposition of Governor Walker’s budget.


Christine Neumann-Ortiz, director of WNPJ member group Voces de la Frontera was

interviewed on Democracy Now!

on Friday about the planned May 1 marches in Milwaukee and Madison and said, "The level of collaboration is going to be unprecedented, in terms of the rank-and-file union members and the Latino and immigrant community." Neumann-Ortiz pointed to several issues that were motivating people to turn out, including "discrimination against legal immigrants, low-income families that would be denied access to food stamps or healthcare because they’re non-U.S. citizens," and

an anti-immigrant bill being circulated in the Wisconsin legislature

that is modeled on Arizona's SB-1070.

Watch and listen here...