With chants of “The people united will never be divided,” and “Yes we can,” thousands filled the streets of downtown Los Angeles to celebrate the third annual May Day parade in honor of workers and immigrant rights.
People took part in three different marches that started in different parts of Los Angeles, all representing different sides of the immigration debate and merged together to rally on 1st Street and Broadway.
Community organizations like Salef, CARECEN, MIWON and students campaigning for “Students for Equal Access To Education,” took part in the demonstration.
As the march continued down Wilshire Boulevard people watched from the sidewalks and the buildings that surrounded.
Supporters who could not take part in the rally showed their support from balconies and windows.
Students at John H. Liechty Middle School stood on the field waving American flags and chanting, “Yes we can!”
Although participants were encouraged to only wave American flags, some waved flags from all over Latin America.
Some demonstrators came out to show their support and march in solidarity with the immigrant community.
Jorge Martinez who migrated to Los Angeles from El Salvador and is now a citizen said, “We are in a better situation now, there are others who need our help.”
Martinez believes solidarity networks between recent immigrants and other Latinos living in L.A. will reduce the social and economic problems that plague Latin America.
Members from the Filipino and Korean community joined the march alongside Latinos.
“Filipinos are also an immigrant community. Immigrants are not the problem of America, immigrants are the hope of America,” said Aquilina Soriano Versoza, a member of the Pilipino Workers’ Center.
“We are part of a powerful movement in Los Angeles. We are about working together to build a stronger America, a stronger Los Angeles,” said a member from the Korean Immigrant Workers Alliance who didn’t provide a name.
There were performances from the Mexican, Chinese, Korean and Brazilian community to show the diversity in L.A.
Members of the crowd were asked to shake hands with one another to symbolize bond that should be created among all immigrants, no matter what race or ethnicity.
Fabian Nu’ntilde;ez, state assembly speaker, spoke at the rally and showed his support for the immigrant community.
“No human being is illegal. Immigrants come here to work and take care of their families,” said Nu’ntilde;ez. “They are the history of this nation.”
This year’s May Day march was peaceful compared to last year where marchers and reporters were attacked by police.
“We were all shocked with what happened, but we weren’t deterred or discouraged,” said Nu’ntilde;ez. “We continued in search of justice for the worker and immigrant family.”
Brandon Briones, a participant, said he noticed the change in atmosphere from last year’s march, “There has been change. The media has paid more attention to both sides of the issue. The media used to be one sided.”
Members from the African-American community referred to the tensions between Latinos and African-Americans that have been sensationalized by the media.
“It is evil to divide black and brown people. Some of us came in chains, some of us came in economic chains,” said a speaker who did not provide his name. “They are afraid because when black and brown get together we’re a powerful force.”