|(May 3, 2017, 12:55 p.m.) -- About two hundred people, many of whom were youth of color, heard speeches, marched from MacArthur Park to City Hall and heard more speeches marking May Day (Monday
In contrast to L.A.'s May Day event, no local Long Beach elected officials were visible. A picnic table at the park served as a stage for speakers at the event, emceed by Alex Montances from the Filipino Migrant Center and Maria Lopez from Housing Long Beach.
The program opened with a chant: "Ain't [sic] no power like the power of the people cuz [sic] the power of the people don't stop. Say what!" Mr. Montances and Ms. Lopez gave a brief history of May Day and described the local May Day Coalition as "pro-immigrant, pro-worker, pro-human rights, pro-social justice and pro-Black Lives Matter," which drew audience cheers.
Ms. Lopez said this year's theme was "sanctuary for all" and Mr. Montances was more specific about what he means: "We demand a sanctuary city policy -- for the police officers not to cooperate, not to use funding or resources for deportation and immigration enforcement. They (the police) shouldn’t be sharing people’s sensitive information about people’s immigration status (with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)."
Among other speakers:
Three other chants heard at the program were "Get up, get down. There’s a people's movement in this town"; "I believe that we will win" and "Si se puede" (Yes we can), which was the motto of the United Farm Workers.
When marchers reached City Hall, a second program of speeches began, which Montances and Lopez again emceed.
While marching to Long Beach City Hall, chants included: "When workers' rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back. When immigrant rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back"; "We are people, we are not illegal"; "From Palestine to Mexico, all these walls have got to go"; "No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all"; "Sanctuary, not deportation"; "Everywhere we go people want to know who we are. So we tell them. We are the workers, the mighty, mighty workers"; "Black lives they matter here" and "Move ICE, get out of the way, get out of the way, get out of the way."
Marchers included Stephanie Deschams, 29, who said she took part to support the rights of the immigrant community and hoped Long Beach would become a sanctuary city. Deschams, who said she got certificates in nursing and phlebotomy from Long Beach City College, pointed out Donald Trump's grandfather had immigrated from Germany and Ivanka Trump had immigrated from Slovenia. She said, "We (should) stand united. If one person goes down, we all go done."
Another marcher was Robert Jay, 43, who said he lives in Long Beach, works part-time in long shore and is a member of Local 13 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Jay said, "May 1st is important to me...(It) is the original Labor Day, which is a sign of solidarity because every society the working-class is always in the majority."
In addition to trade unionist Jay, contingents of hotel workers, teamsters and teachers also marched.
According to the website for the May Day Long Beach, the event was "presented" by Anakbayan Long Beach, Black Lives Matter Long Beach, California Faculty Association, Clergy Laity United for Economic Justice, Coalition for Latino Advancement at Long Beach City College, DAYS, Filipino Migrant Center, Gabriela Los Angeles, Greater Interfaith Community Organization, Justice for Port Truck Drivers Campaign, LAANE (Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy), LiBRE (Long Beach Residents Empowered), Little Brown Church, Long Beach Area Peace Network, Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs & a Healthy Community, Long Beach G.R.R.R.L. Collective, Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition, Palestinian Youth Movement, Semillas de Esperanza (seeds of hope) and Stop Fracking Long Beach.
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