May 1, 2010: A new chapter in the civil rights movement

We are gathered here today, as we did back in May 1 2006, to answer the call; to send a message of solidarity and humanity against the forces of hatred and bigotry.

In the same way, that Wisconsin Congressman Sensenbrenner’s bill HR 4437 ignited the immigrant rights movement in 2006; so today, has passage of Arizona’s SB 1070 awakened the nation and opened a new chapter in the civil rights struggle of this country.

The blatant racist nature of the SB 1070 law that legalizes racial profiling has only helped broaden and unify the immigrant rights movement across geography, race and ethnicity because of what is at stake: a return to Jim Crow segregation and violence; And we will not allow that to happen.

Much like the civil rights movement of the 1950s we find the necessity to battle the forces of violence and bigotry thorugh economic boycotts, legal actions, protests, civil disobedience of US citizens, and strikes if need be; to prevent this law from taking hold or gaining hold in other states.

I am proud to announce that Alderman Witkowiak will be introducing on Monday a resolution that calls on the Common Council to affirmatively oppose laws that lead to racial profiling, calls on the Congress and President to pass immigration reform, and supports the Arizona boycott until SB 1070 is repealed.

Are you ready to support this boycott? Are you ready to protest and boycott the Arizona Diamonbacks when they come to Milwaukee in August? Are you ready to help build a national presence at the Arizona state capital on May 29th to call on President Obama to nullify SB 1070 and put an end to Sheriff Arpaio’s racial reign of terror.

As before, it is the people that must lead the fight, a peaceful but strategic fight, to force the hand of Congress and the Obama Administration to pass immigration reform this year; to stop deporting immigrants that pose no threat to our communities; and end programs that grant authority to local and state police to enforce immigration law and the so called Secure Communities program in our jails that is increasing the incidence of racial profiling, leading to deportations for minor traffic infractions or no infractions; tearing families apart and creating a climate of fear and harassment.

It is these same forces of hatred and bigotry that try to escape goat immigrants for unemployment and low wages; while turning a blind eye to the bankers and CEOs of transnational companies that have been accumluating gross amounts of wealth from the sweat, suffering, and immiseration of working people, both US workers and workers who are forced to leave their country.

The federal government must step up and create vigorous job creation for all workers and stregthen labor rights regardless of immigration status; for the benefit of all workers and the nation.

Today is May Day, International Labor Day started in 1886 and we stand on the shoulders of previous generations that fought and sacrificied to achieve a truer democracy that lives up to the ideals of this great nation.Today we stand shoulder to shoulder defending those gains achieved through great sacrifice and writing a new chapter in human history; affirming the rights of all workers and people to live free of discrimination, poverty, and to realize their full potential; to realize values enshrined in the pledge of allegiance, that all children in our classrooms are taught, of a nation “with liberty and justice for all.”

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