On May Day 2008, 30,000 people marched on Milwaukee’s streets demanding an immediate halt on raids and the criminalization of immigrant workers and demanding a strong commitment from the three presidential candidates to pass a just immigration reform during the first 100 days in office. Milwaukee, for the second year in a row, had the biggest march of the country. More than 200 cities marched on May Day.
This march as well as other marches nationwide made broader demands for all workers such as “Stop the War” and “Better jobs and access to health care for all.” In the case of Milwaukee, it was the march with the most diverse representation of races to date.
Even though the national media remarked on the decline in numbers compared to the ones in 2006, our collective effort showed that we still reached critical numbers so that our message was heard at a national level. This was accomplished in the face of an increasing number of arrests and deportations, threats of workers losing their jobs based on social security re-verification programs and other local anti-immigrant initiatives.
The fact that so many people overcame their fear and turned out in such big numbers is a great victory. Voces de la Frontera would like to thank and recognize all those people that marched on May Day 2008. We greatly appreciate the financial support from businesses, organizations, and individuals who contributed to the march, and the long volunteer hours from our members and friends.
Remember what the marches have accomplished so far. They stopped Sensenbrenner’s bill, HR4437 that would have made all of us felons. They put immigration reform on the national agenda and made it a viable possibility – all three presidential candidates have a plan for some form of immigration reform. This year’s march demonstrates our power and sends a clear message: immigration reform now!
What is next?
As we overcome fear, withstand cynicism, embrace hope and make reform a reality, there is a lot to do at Voces de la Frontera. We cannot wait for reform to happen, we must make it happen. Attend a “Know Your Rights” workshop. Become a member of Voces de la Frontera. Volunteer for Voto Latino (everyone can help!). Join the New Sanctuary Movement to help families facing deportation. If you are a student or youth, join “Students United for Immigrant Rights (SUFRIR). Assist us with the campaign to fight changes to Social Security No Match rules. Stop by the office or give us a call to learn how you can be involved. All ages, all languages, all abilities are welcome to join the fight.
A profound Gracias y Si se puede!