What Message Will May Day Protest Send?
By Jennifer Solis
I was invited to attend a “teach-in” this evening of one of the organizations planning the May 1st celebration of International Workers’ Day, aka “A Day Without Immigrants.”
The protest next Monday will encourage all immigrants, legal and illegal, to refrain from going to work, to school, or making any purchases. Looks like the stores will be crowded on Sunday.
I was asked if I could accompany one of the leaders to Belmont High School to meet with the administration to get permission to leaflet the campus in order to advertise the event. I asked the leader, “What will you say when we are asked if we are going to encourage students to skip classes on Monday?”
After a few seconds of silent contemplation, he responded that it is important to make a statement that there should be justice for all immigrants. When I pressed him again, if that statement includes asking Los Angeles students to not attend school, he said, “Yes, that’s our goal.”
Many of those at the session started questioning if this was really a good idea. I reminded them of the effect of seeing all the Mexican flags at the March 25th march downtown, and suggested that promoting truancy might have the same negative effect.
We decided that it would be better to have the students stay in school Monday, and at the 3:24 pm dismissal, to have a bus parked in front to take anyone who wanted to participate in a march starting at MacArthur Park at 4 o’clock, organized by the Koreans and CHIRLA and a few other groups.
I was told that Cardinal Roger Mahony had agreed to be present at the MacArthur Park rally. I can’t believe that he will show up. The prelate is about one strike away from being indicted for his role in the pedophile priests cover-up. I suspect that rather than show up at a public rally, he is holed up with his computer checking out Expedia for a one-way ticket to Vatican City. But that’s another subject.
There is a deep division among, and within, organizations planning the May 1st protest. Many companies have already notified their employees that if they miss work on Monday, then don’t bother to show up on Tuesday, or any other day. If the message to American is to stress how important immigrant labor is to the country, is it not counter-productive to withhold that labor for the sake of a protest?
Some firms are closing down on Monday to support their employee’s desire to participate in something they believe to be important to themselves and their families. They simply shifted next week’s work schedule to be from Tuesday thru Saturday. Many schools are allowing their students to come to class the following Saturday, in order not to be classified as truant.
No word yet if the State Board of Education will dock the LAUSD its ADA funds for Monday absences, even if class time is made up on Saturday. No one believes that a few hours on Saturday will make up for a lost full day of learning.
I could be wrong, but I believe that all of these marches and protests have simply galvanized most of America, and especially the African-American population, about the negative aspects of illegal immigration. We’re not just talking about the most visible Hispanics marching in the streets – but also the millions who have overstayed their temporary visas, and the almost half-million for whom there are already deportation warrants yet to be executed.
When I asked the group if the compromise for obtaining amnesty would include acceptance of a border wall that not even a cockroach could cross, everyone in the room had an excuse why this was unfair. Other than the obvious “reconquistas,” who don’t recognize such a border, these immigration “rights” leaders have not yet come to the political reality that you can’t have one without the other.