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News :: Labor : Organizing : Politics : Race
Immigrant Rights Rally Fast Becoming May Day Tradition in Boston
28 Apr 2005
According to the Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Coalition, international immigration to the Commonwealth is responsible for both the population growth and the net labor force growth experienced here in the 1990s. An ever growing coalition of immigrant, labor, religious and community organizations that organizes the perennial ‘MayDay Rally for Immigrants Rights’ has had their finger on the pulse of the demographic shift in the state.

Since the mid-nineties Bostonians have intermittently celebrated May 1st, which since the late 1800s has been an international workers holiday, with an immigrants rights rally. In 2001 the annual rally received a boost thanks in part to a call out from the AFL-CIO for labor to highlight the connection between labor and immigrant rights. Since then the annual rally has just about become a staple of spring in our fair city. It is rumored that Mayor Menino might even make an appearance this year.

Regarding the mayor, Jason Pramas of Massachusetts Global Action, one of the key groups organizing the event, said that while he doesn’t necessarily agree with his politics, ”It is extremely important for a mayor of a major urban center, especially one who has not been as strong on immigrants rights as he could be, to stand up and commit himself to meeting the needs of immigrant populations in Boston.”
According to Pramas, one major goal of the immigrants rights rally is to make the reality of the shifting demographic felt in Massachusetts, and “Shake up the political establishment.” The 2003 rally, in conjunction with a lobbying effort, resulted in the Boston City Council writing a letter to the Massachusetts Congressional delegation urging them to support Amnesty for all immigrants similar to The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, granted legal residency to undocumented immigrants who had been living in the US since before 1982.

This years organizational material states that the rally is an effort by “immigrant communities and citizen allies from around the region” to raise awareness of immigrant concerns among the voting public, “show New England politicians that they need to take immigrant concerns seriously and get much more positive main stream coverage for immigrant concerns.” Rally organizers also hope to provide a forum for coalition building among immigrant communities, share victories, and “bring together a diverse array of immigrant communities for a unified show of strength.”

Over half of the over 30 organizations co-sponsoring the rally are new to the coalition, including the Boston chapter of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation. According to Hamza Pelletier, who works with the freedom foundation they have done a major push to attract the Muslim community to the event. The group has been promoting the event on the web as well as, “Trying to promote it during Jumua, which is our congregational prayer on Fridays, and advertising through our newsletter which went out to over 1000 people.”

Pramas also mentioned that Irish United For Human Rights will be serving refreshments at area pubs around Boston and providing vans to shuttle folks from the Irish community to and from the rally.

When asked what he hoped positive movement would come out of the rally, Pelletier said he was enthusiastic about increased solidarity among immigrant groups around common issues. “There is a perception, for example, especially in a post 9/11 environment, that issues like detention and deportation are specific to the Muslim community. But these are obviously issues that other immigrant groups, particularly the Hispanic community, face as well, and this rally and this type of coalition building will help us to bridge those gaps and show more solidarity.”



May Day Rally For Immigrants Rights–Sunday May 1, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Copley Square, Boston
Contact: 617-338-9966, networking (at) massglobalaction.org
See also:
http://www.massglobalaction.org

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: Immigrant Rights Rally Fast Becoming May Day Tradition in Boston
29 Apr 2005
"It is rumored that Mayor Menino might even make an appearance this year."

They lost me right there. What conciliatory crap. Anyone who knows Boston knows Menino is an enemy of workers all over this city.

To really celebrate May Day, I recommend an "anti-capitalist march" not a pro-Menino rally...
Re: Immigrant Rights Rally Fast Becoming May Day Tradition in Boston
29 Apr 2005
The event seems to be about Immigrant Rights, not Mr. Menino, if you're looking for a comunist fair go to New York. If he wants to support Immigrant rights, don't hate on the immigrants or the organizers.
Re: Immigrant Rights Rally Fast Becoming May Day Tradition in Boston
29 Apr 2005
THose two events, they do not conflict, schedule wise. Also, I want to state official for the record that BIMC does not endorse either this event or the 'anti-capitalist march'. Also I personally do not endorse any disparaging, condesescending , foolish wrongheaded comments anyone might have made about anyones efforts to do organizing around may day. I am sorry that BIMC has not had more comprehensive coverage of may day. ( If we had more people actually writing articles we could do better) Thirdly I meant that line with the rumors and Menino to convey a hint of irony. Did that not come through?
Re: Immigrant Rights Rally Fast Becoming May Day Tradition in Boston
29 Apr 2005
Why would it possibly be hating on the immigrants to hate on the state?

So many anarchists have been immigrants, so many immigrants have been anarchists, there must be a good reason...
Re: Immigrant Rights Rally Fast Becoming May Day Tradition in Boston
29 Apr 2005
Mayday to me and many folks I talk to is a day of coming together for workers rights, and increasingly, immigrants rights. Would it not make sense for the various communities of Boston to work in harmony on this day?

One of my personal hopes is that this site can be a place where various groups can have a forum about these issues and start to work together for common goals through better communication and better news coverage. Comments like the anonymous and supposed "Bostonian" go agaisnt this, and I think, given the history of how groups opposing coalitions between various socially conscious groups operate, we should always take anonymous divisive comments with a rather large grain of salt.
Re: Immigrant Rights Rally Fast Becoming May Day Tradition in Boston
29 Apr 2005
It might warrant remembering that the Haymarket Martyrs - Albert Parsons, August Spies, George Engel, Adolph Fischer, Louis Lingg, Michael Schwab, Samuel Fielden and Oscar Neebe - were immigrants.
Re: Immigrant Rights Rally Fast Becoming May Day Tradition in Boston
29 Apr 2005
Seriously, who the fuck invited Menino? This guy has proven himself. time and again, to be an enemy of labor. Fuck him.
Re: Immigrant Rights Rally Fast Becoming May Day Tradition in Boston
02 May 2005
I thought he got an appropriately subdued response.
Re: Immigrant Rights Rally Fast Becoming May Day Tradition in Boston
02 May 2005
I don't see a problem with immigrants coming here and taking jobs. I see a problem with CEOs and boards of directors sending jobs and entire industries overseas. Immigrants come here because they want to live in a free society. CEOs send jobs overseas because they want a 3rd or 4th mansion. Why get mad at immigrants? Afraid of confronting the real problem?
Re: Immigrant Rights Rally Fast Becoming May Day Tradition in Boston
04 May 2005
Maybe people wanted to march for immigrant rights without necessarily being 100% against government and capitalism? Not everyone who wants to effect social change is an anarchist.