Beyond May Day

Pub date May 5, 2009
SectionPolitics Blog

Text and photos by Joe Sciarrillo
Thousands marched in Bay Area cities on May 1 to honor International Workers’ Day, or May Day, offering a preview of the big struggles to come on the national political front.

Mission District activists chanted on Dolores Street, “¡Qué viva las familias! ¡Qué viva el barrio! Viva!” energizing participants to join together to support their families and neighborhoods. Yet the daily struggles of immigrants and laborers, families living hand-to-mouth, and loved ones separated by borders has eluded most media outlets and commentators.

The nationwide marches focused on calls for comprehensive immigration reform and improving workers’ conditions, including passing the Employee Free Choice Act. This was just days after the first question at President Barack Obama’s April 29 news conference asked if he would close the U.S./Mexico border due to the swine flu outbreak. He, of course, responded by declaring that he would not do so.