Will we be an enslaved race or a free race?

This May 1 2008 is another historic day as people in more than 200 cities march in the streets demanding justice and dignity.

May 1st, International Day of the Worker, was born in the US in1886 with the struggle of workers for the 8 hour day. In Milwaukee in 1886, Polish immigrants, similarly to Chicago workers, went on strike to support the 8 hour day and were fired upon. Today, members of the Faith Community for Worker Justice, have recreated this historic march of immigrant workers as they filed into the ranks of this march.

And in that same tradition, affirming the international rights of all workers, I am proud to be here today with you in Milwaukee, the third statewide march on May Day, to send a message to politicians, the public, and the world, that we have not stopped fighting.

We are here to tell President Bush:

We do not consent to your plan for raids, detentions, and criminalization of workers for the economic benefit of private companies in the detention, prison, and military industry.

We do not consent to your proposal for a new form of slavery with temporary work visas, without rights or citizenship, the vote, workers rights, nor security.

As US citizens, we do not consent to the politics of racism.

We are here to show that the Bush Administration’s Department of Homeland Security’s Strategic Plan, know by the name – Endgame – of mass arrests and deportations from 2003-2012, did not count on a very American tradition of resistance, based on the struggle, blood, and sweat of oppressed groups to have their dignity as human beings be respected in the face of unjust laws; such as slavery, segregation, the right to vote, and the right to citizenship.

Endgame did not count that in 2006 massive numbers would turn out in the streets to put an end to the criminalization of children, workers, and people of consciousness with the Sensenbrenner proposal.

Endgame did not count on the courage of immigrants as symbols of resistance in the face of deportations; witnesses to the inhumanity of deportations.

It did not count on the commitment of churches to face the threat of criminal charges to stand by families facing deportation.

It did not count on the solidarity by African-Americans, who have so courageously fought against laws that denied their own humanity.

It did not count on the solidarity of other ethnic communities, Native American Indians, and Anglos, representing a diversity of immigrants and experiences coming to this nation.

This May 1, we have a message for the three presidential candidates:

We did not come to this march as Democrats or Republicans, we came to this march demanding a strong commitment from all the candidates to pass a just reform dignified of the 12 million workers and their families who contribute to the economic strength of this country and their country of origin.

We call on a president that will not use immigrants as a scapegoat, to distract the country from the war in Iraq that costs $341.4 million dollars a day; without doubt, the greatest contributor to economic insecurity in this nation.

In our own hands, is our future, if we will be an enslaved race, persecuted like a criminal, working under even more exploitative conditions, or a free race. I am proud to stand today with free men and women. Brothers and sisters, together we will win, the struggle is hard, but human dignity is harder still.

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