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Organizer: Big Immigration Rallies Planned for May 1
Activists are planning a repeat of last year’s huge marches and protests in favor of legalizing immigrants and ending deportations.
By Andrew Murr

April 11, 2007 - Last year’s giant immigrant rallies culminated in a May 1 boycott as an estimated 1 million protesters marched peacefully in two dozen cities from Boston to Los Angeles. Now, organizers plan to do it again. Dubbed The Great American Boycott II and timed again to coincide with Labor’s traditional May Day celebration, leaders want immigrants to flex their economic muscles by abstaining from purchases, skipping school and attending mass rallies in cities from New York and Chicago to San Antonio.

Last year’s protests targeted the restrictive House bill authored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin that would have made illegal immigrants felons and mandated 700 miles of border fence. (The House later passed the bill, H.R. 4437, but it died in the Senate, which supported a more liberal measure.) This year’s agenda is broader and more diffuse. Organizers are pushing for an end to the recent spate of raids on businesses that hire large numbers of illegals. They also want to stop the federal government from splitting families by deporting undocumented parents whose U.S.-born children are American citizens. Longtime Los Angeles immigration activist Javier Rodriguez, one of last year’s organizers, says he expects “millions” of immigrants will participate, including a larger coalition of groups than last year. Rodriguez recently spoke with NEWSWEEK’s Andrew Murr. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: What is planned for May 1?
Javier Rodriguez:
We expect a national boycott that will be several times bigger than last year in its size, effectiveness and also in its political message. Easily, there will be over 100 cities that will be boycotting and/or marching throughout the country—primarily, the major cities and regions where the immigrant has staked his ground … California, Texas, Arizona, New York, Rhode Island, Illinois and elsewhere. I expect millions will participate.

Last spring’s rallies and boycott were driven by the House immigration bill sponsored by James Sensenbrenner. That’s no longer an issue. What’s the driving issue now?
The people see two things. One, they see that the Bush administration [approach] has not worked. They see the hypocritical message telling them that he is for family unity and for migrants to be able to legalize, while at the same time he has launched a campaign of persecution that has turned into psychological warfare. The people see right through that. It was those mass marches of last year that pushed the Latino electorate along with the antiwar sentiment that allowed them to defeat the Republican majority [in Congress]. It was a very astute move on the part of the immigrant community. That’s one. But the driving force was that they see their immigration status has not changed. Nothing has happened.

Who is participating this year?
In New York, we have the May 1st Coalition. We have labor support, the West Coast International Longshore Workers Union and we have immigrants’ rights groups, including the Hermandad Mexicana Nacional in Los Angeles. And a whole slew of other groups. We had 63 national organizations come to an organizing session in February. We’re a lot better organized. Last year, we launched the May 1 boycott -at the March 25 rally. This year, we’ve been at it for five months.

The immigrant community will be at the heart of this, but we expect other people to join in. [We are working with] the ranks of the antiwar movement and the African-American community. And also labor.

How about elected officials?

I’ll be very honest with you. At this point, we don’t have any. But with three weeks to go, as the momentum builds and the hype takes over, there will be many. Many of them joined in for the rally on March 25 last year. Even the mayor [Antonio Villaraigosa] of Los Angeles [who supported a mass rally but came out against the economic and school boycotts]. He’s an old buddy, [but] we definitely have different views. Last year, he didn’t close City Hall. He scabbed on our one-day boycott.

What do you mean?
He opened up City Hall.
Last year, we also had the California Speaker Fabian Núñez, [and] the Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero closed the … State Senate that day.

Last time, we had city council folks here in L.A., as well as in New York and in San Antonio. Many of them will show up for the rally. We have the rank-and-file priests on our side.

Have you spoken to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which opposed last year’s boycott?
We hope that they come to their senses and support us.

Last year, the Spanish-language DJs of Los Angeles provided key publicity for the March 25 rally, but then many opposed last year’s boycott. Are they on board this year?
We expect the majority of DJs to come and support the effort, meaning airing it on their programs and bringing it up in jokes, appeals, promos and cultural comments, just like last year. We are moving now. We approached [TV host] Don Cheto yesterday, and they are expecting an official letter from us and they agreed. We have another one who is not very political, Humberto Luna, who will be opening his program to us on a daily morning show on La Ranchera radio.

What effect do you expect this year’s boycott to have?
After the rallies last year, the opinion polls began to say that the majority of the American people were in favor of a legalization process. We want that to continue. It had to do with the fact that the immigrant community came out by the millions and they demanded respect. And we did it in such an orderly way, so civilly. We are calling for a humane plan to legalize all immigrants, and we want an end to the deportations and raids.

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18059553/site/newsweek/

© 2007 MSNBC.com


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Organizing Centers

    Tuesday, May 1
    5:00 pm - Rally/March - Las Brisas Shopping Center, Blvd. Diaz Ordaz

    Workers Information Center, Cittac
    011-52-664-622-4269 • maquilatijuanasandiego@earthlink.net

    Tuesday, May 1
    8:00 am - Gather SouthGate 3300 S. 6th Ave (6th Ave & 44th St)
    9:00 am - March to Downtown Tucson
    12:00 pm - Rally at Armory Park 220 S 5th Ave

    Tucson May 1st Coalition
    PO Box 1286
    Tucson AZ 85702
    520-770-1373 • may1@iactucson.org mayday2007.iactucson.org
    Download flyers in Español and English

    Tuesday, May 1
    UC Davis Campus, Memorial Union Patio
    11-12:00 - Rally at MU patio with musicians and performers
    11:30 am - Solidarity Walk Out. Congregate at MU patio
    12:00 pm - March

    Davis Students Against War Resource

    Los Angeles
    Tuesday, May 1
    12:00 pm - March at the beginning of Olympic & Broadway

    National May 1st Movement for Worker & Immigrant Rights
    5274 West Pico Blvd. #203
    Los Angeles CA 90019
    Download flyers in Español and English

    Tuesday, May 1
    10:00 am - Rally - Corner of Crows Landing & Hatch Rds.

    Download flyers in Español/English

    Tuesday, May 1
    5-8:30 pm - corner of 2nd St. and Highway 74


    San Diego
    Tuesday, May 1
    3:00pm - March/Rally - Corner of Park and A

    Si Se Puede Coalition
    619-309-7435 • davidschmidt2003@hotmail.com

    San Francisco
    Tuesday, May 1
    12:00 pm - Dolores Park in the Mission District
    1:00 pm - Grand March for Unconditional Amnesty to the Civic Center

    Movimiento Por Una Amnistia Incondicional/Movement for an Unconditional Amnesty

    San Francisco
    Tuesday, May 1
    7-9:00 pm - Mission & 24th Streets - Candlelight Vigil for Unconditional & General Amnesty

    Barrio Unido

    Tuesday, May 1
    10:00 am - Lincoln Park

    Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC)
    1212 Mariposa St; Suite 5
    Denver, CO 80204
    303.893.3500 • julien@coloradoimmigrant.org www.coloradoimmigrant.org

    Tuesday, May 1
    10:00 AM – Plantón/Rally – Union Park [Ashland Ave. and Washington St.]
    12:00 PM – Marcha/March – Randolph St., Desplaines St., Jackson Blvd., Columbus Dr.
    2:00 PM – Plantón/Rally – Grant Park [Balbo Dr. and Columbus Dr.]

    March 10th Movement
    1638 S. Blue Island Ave
    Chicago, IL 60608

    Tuesday May 1

    5-7:00 pm - Rally/March - Gene Snyder Courthouse to Jefferson Park

    The Kentucky May Day Coalition
    Download flyers in Español and English

    Tuesday May 1

    4:00 pm - Rally/March - Boston Common

    Boston May Day Coalition
    617.290.5614 • info@bostonmayday.org

    Tuesday May 1

    2:00 pm - March from Everett City Hall
    3:00 pm - March from Chelsea City Hall
    4:00 pm - Rally in Central Square, East Boston

    Chelsea Collaborative
    300 Broadway Chelsea, MA 02150
    617.889.6080 • mail@chelseacollab.org
    Download flyers in Español/English

    Tuesday May 1 - Time/Place - TBD

    Latinos Unidos/United de Michigan (LUUM)
    Rosendo Delgado - 313.887.1849
    Ignacio Meneses - 313.587.9285
    Elena Herrada - 313.974.0501
    Download flyers in Español and English

    Tuesday May 1

    4:00 pm - March - Lake St. & Nicollet St.

    MN Immigrant Rights Action Coalition (MIRAC)
    Download flyers in Español/English
    Download Posters in Español and English

    Las Vegas
    Tuesday May 1

    7:00 pm - US Federal Courthouse, 333 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

    United Coalition for Immigrant Rights
    740 N. Eastern Avenue, Suite 110
    Las Vegas, NV 89101

    New Jersey
    Tuesday May 1

    11:00 am - Warinanco Park
    Mass Meeting

    NJ May 1 Coalition
    973-736-0522 • info@njmay1.org

    New York
    Tuesday May 1
    3:00 pm - McKinley High School on Elmwood Avenue
    Marching to a Speakout at Elmwood and Bidwell
    Car caravan from there to City Hall

    Buffalo/WNY International Action Center

    New York City
    Tuesday May 1
    4:00 pm - Rally & March
    Union Square Park, 14 St. & Broadway
    Marching to Federal Plaza/ Foley Square
    (Site of the African Burial Ground)

    NYC May 1 Coalition
    55 W 17th St.
    New York, NY 10011
    646.291.2778 • www.may1.info>
    Download flyers in Español and English

    North Carolina
    Tuesday May 1

    4:00 pm - Central Ave & The Plaza
    gather in front of the Harris Teeter to show our support for the Justice at Smithfield Campaign being waged by workers.
    The march will end at the vigil called by Communities for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
    6:00 - Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center
    600 E. 4th St., Charlotte, NC 28202
    Contact: Ruben Campillo, (704) 531-3848

    May 1st Charlotte Movement for Workers & Immigrants Rights
    704.492.8527 • may1charlotte@gamil.com

    Tuesday May 1

    5-7:00 pm Rally - State Capitol

    North Carolina Justice Center
    919.856.2178 • dani@ncjustice.org

    Tuesday May 1

    5:00 pm - Rally/March - Allegheny County Jail, 2nd Ave.
    Marching to Mellon Square Park, 6th Ave.

    Pittsburgh Friends of Immigrants

    San Antonio
    Tuesday May 1

    12:00 pm - Rally - Milam Park
    6:00 pm - March

    Southwest Workers Union
    Download flyers in Español/English

    Tuesday May 1

    3:30 pm - March - Miller Park

    Grupo Comunitario por Justicia y Derechos de los Inmigrantes
    509.457.5867 or 509.930.6532

    Tuesday May 1

    12:00pm - Rally/March - Capitol to Brittingham Park

    Union de Trabajadores Inmigrantes
    Immigrant Workers Union
    608.345.9544 or 608.446.3656
    download flyers in Español or English

    Tuesday May 1

    Un Dia Sin Latin@s/A Day Without Latin@s
    Estatal Marcha por Derechos Civiles y Boicot/Statewide Civil Rights March & Boycott
    12:00 pm - Voces de la Frontera, 1027 S. 5th St.

    Voces de la Frontera
    Wisconsin Legalization Coalition
    414.643.1620 • vocesdelafrontera@sbcglobal.net
    download flyers in Español/English


    • Adelberto Central Methodist Church
    • Alianza Nueva Nacion de Guatemala en Los Angeles
    • Angelica Salas, Director - Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los
      Angeles (CHIRLA)
    • Association Tepayac de New York
    • Border Social Forum
    • Boston May Day Coalition
    • California Peace & Freedom Party
    • Centro Obrero, Michigan
    • Chris Silvera, Secretary Treasurer Local 808 Teamsters
    • Comite Pro-Amnistia y Justicia Social
    • Cynthia McKinney, former member of Congress
    • Elvira Arellano in Sanctuary Adalberto Church Chicago
    • Emma Goldman Chapter of SDS/MDS
    • Emma Lozano-Centro Sin Fronteras
    • Fr. Luis Barrios, San Romero de Las Americas Church
    • Frantz Mendes, Pres. USW L. 8751, Boston School Bus Drivers
    • Hermandad Mexicana Nacional-California-Nevada
    • Industrial Workers of the World
    • International Action Center
    • Korea Truth Commission - U.S.
    • Latinos Against War
    • LUUM-Latinos Unidos de Michigan
    • March 25th Coalition LA
    • May 1st Coalition-New York
    • MLK Jr. Bolivarian Circle, Boston
    • Most Rev. Filipe C Teixeira, OFSJC
      Northeastern Diocese of Saint Francis of Assisi, CCA
      Immigration Pastoral Center, Inc Massachusetts
    • Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation
    • N.J. Civil Rights Defense Committee
    • NALAAC-National NGO Florida Convention
    • New England Human Rights Organization for Haiti
    • Northern California May 1 Coalition
    • Puerto Rican Alliance
    • San Romero de Las Americas Church-UCC
    • Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas-SME (Mexican Electrical Workers Union)
    • South Asian Network
    • Southwest Workers Union-San Antonio
    • Troops Out Now Coalition
    • Union de Trabajadores Inmigrantes
    • Union of Progressive Iranians
    • United American Indians of New England
    • United Front for Affordable Housing
    • US-Cuba Labor Exchange
    • Workers World Party
    • World Can't Wait

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