“El Pueblo Hunido Jamas Sera Vencido”
May Day or International Workers Day is one of my favorite days of the year. Celebrated on May 1st, May Day is a celebration of the working classes, it is a day for the people whose voices are silenced to be heard and a day for those that are always heard to take a step back and listen. In the past May Day has been a platform for immigration reform, workers rights and farmworkers rights.
I had the privilege of marching with Got Green this year and as we marched there was plenty of time to analyze what felt so different about my participation this year compared to other years. Got Green has taught me so much about the importance of alliances, connection and overall being present when the community needs you because looking at the bigger picture every issue is connected to another issue in some way or form. My work at Got Green has definitely been about intersectionality. This concept that our many different identities connect with each other and you can’t separate one identity from the other. Intersectionality is the force behind the complexities of the movements that we are involved in and I saw that reflection during May Day.
May Day is a day for gender justice, a day for racial justice, a day of activism and a day for environmental justice. It is also more of an earth day then the actual day that the U.S and mainstream environmental organizations has deemed as a capitalistic opportunity to commemorate the earth and its resources. Got Green taught me that May Day is the realization that fair jobs are green jobs. If people didn’t have to kill themselves to produce items that aren’t sustainable there would be a greater opportunity to do jobs that would uplift our communities instead of destroying them. An example of a destructive job is the production of berries at Sakuma Farms in Mt. Vernon Washington. Farmworkers plant and pick pesticide ridden berries that get packaged and sold as Driscoll berries in Costco, Safeway, QFC etc. Except the people that are picking the berries are working for 12 hours or longer under harsh conditions. They also work for the state average minimum wage, are forced to live on the farms in headquarters that were falling apart and moldy (but have changed due to court cases) and the worst part is the working conditions would have stayed the same if it weren’t for the farm workers uniting and organizing to make change. These situations are still happening and it’s not in a different country; it is happening only an hour and a half north of Seattle. May Day is also a day to bring awareness to what is happening to workers and to end the injustices. As I looked out at the sea of dominantly brown faces at the May Day march I saw the same expression of determination everywhere. The air was full of hope and desire for justicia.
There were many different groups involved, at time the words “Black Lives Matter” would echo off the buildings of Capitol Hill as we marched through. The chant “Hey hey, ho ho, gentrification has got to go” would ring as we walked down Pine and other chants like “We will slay imperialism now” amplified as we entered downtown and headed towards the Federal Court District.
May Day is a day full of courage and pride. It is also the day we share our resiliency with each other and acknowledge those who have paved a better path for us. It is also a reminder that we as people of color deserve better. I was chanting for much more that Sunday afternoon. I was chanting for justice and peace but most importantly for solidarity. After all Got Green has taught me that we need to continue to do the work but we also have to be better at supporting each other.