May Day Rally at UCSC and March to Santa Cruz Demands Rights for Immigrants, Workers and Students

On May 1st, May Day (International Workers’ Day), hundreds of students and workers rallied at UC Santa Cruz and marched to Santa Cruz to demand rights for immigrants, workers and students, including freedom to transcend man-made borders. The intersection at the base of UCSC was briefly barricaded with pallets, a dumpster, tables and various other devices as the march crossed crossed High Street and continued down Bay Street. Onlookers and car passengers clapped, gave thumbs-up and raised their fists to express solidarity with the May Day demonstration.

The Movement for Immigrant Rights Alliance (M.I.R.A.) is a coalition of UC Santa Cruz students, community members, and diverse organizations working together to build a unified voice for people with migrant backgrounds, particularly those labeled undocumented. M.I.R.A. aims to raise public awareness about the rights and living conditions of immigrants who are continuously attacked and dehumanized by corporate media and public policy. Through dialogue, action, and reflection, M.I.R.A. strives to create a movement for human rights that transcends man-made borders.

M.I.R.A. called for a rally at UCSC and marchto Santa Cruz on May 1st, May Day, to demand

  1. DREAM Act be passed in U.S. now
  2. Stop the ICE raids now
  3. The construction of a day laborer center in Santa Cruz now
  4. Fair contract for AFSCME workers now
  5. End the militarization of borders now

How Does It Feel?

– by Pedro Espinosa

How does it feel to be an AB 540 student?
It feels heavy
So what do I mean?
I walk around campus with books on my hands and my class schedule on my mind. I’m a UCSC student. But its not just that…
When I’m in a classroom full of 40 students and we are analyzing the effects of US intervention and immigration I feel very alienated
They are talking about me, I am talking about me.
So you still don’t understand?
Well think about it this way…
Everybody can climb up a hill, no matter how long it takes or what method you use,
Piece of cake right?
Wrong!! It’s not that easy for some, it’s not that easy for me…
I have to climb that heavy hill wearing a backpack full of bricks.
Get my analogy?
That hill represents my education!
But it seems that every step I make on the hill DRAINS me as a human being.
I feel like I’m wearing myself out!
Heavy really heavy. On my shoulders, on my neck on my mind.
But that’s not going to stop me.
Even if I have to crawl and drag myself to get on top of that hill, I will!

* This monologue was written by Pedro Espinosa and performed on May 1st (May Day), 2008, in the Bay Tree Plaza at UC Santa Cruz.

Overall, the demonstration seemed to go very well, however there were a couple of logistical problems during the day. The rally and march was announced by the Movement for Immigrant Rights Alliance (M.I.R.A.), a coalition of UC Santa Cruz students, community members, and diverse organizations working together to build a unified voice for people with migrant backgrounds, particularly those labeled undocumented. M.I.R.A. aims to raise public awareness about the rights and living conditions of immigrants who are continuously attacked and dehumanized by corporate media and public policy. Through dialogue, action, and reflection, M.I.R.A. strives to create a movement for human rights that transcends man-made borders.

The rally was supposed to take place from 12pm until 2pm in the Bay Tree Plaza, however the march ended up leaving the plaza at about 1:15pm. This early departure resulted in some people arriving at the Bay Tree Plaza ready to march at 2pm, but instead trying to find the large group or doing something else.

Another problem arose as the march was re-routed from ending at San Lorenzo Park, as announced, to instead ending at Beach Flats Park. Members of the Santa Cruz community were disappointed because the march did not come by the Clock Tower or end at San Lorenzo Park. Although these logistical issues lead to confusion and frustration, many people were still able to connect up with the demonstration and celebration at Beach Flats Park.

Despite the logistical issues, the demonstration successfully raised a lot of awareness throughout the community for the demands of M.I.R.A.

Crossposted at Indybay.org: Part I & Part II

Author: Bradley Allen

Bradley Allen is a reporter and photographer in the Monterey Bay Area, and a collective member of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay). Follow him on social media: @BradleySA.