Hundreds rallied and marched in Chicago Tuesday to commemorate May Day, also known as International Workers’ Day. May Day, which sees millions of workers and others march across the globe, has deep roots in Chicago. Workers in the late 19th century—many of them immigrants—built a movement demanding an eight-hour workday, better working conditions, and changes in the larger political and economic structure of the country at the time which was rampant with racism, the brutal repression of workers, and income inequality. May Day marks a large general strike in Chicago which led to the Haymarket bombing, which resulted in the execution of anarchists and labor organizers tried in a kangaroo court.
“I’m here fighting for my family, my kids,” said Teresa Cervantes, a single mother who’s worked at McDonald’s for decades. “My life hasn’t been easy, but I’m here standing today because we deserve to have decent wages and I’ll be here until we win…All workers, all immigrants, all of us deserve respect and dignity.”
Demonstrators first gathered at the Haymarket memorial statue before marching downtown for a rally at the Thompson Center, which was then followed by a march to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office. “I first learned I was undocumented in sixth grade,” said one demonstrator who was a DACA recipient. “I was 11 years old when I learned I could one day be separated from my family. There’s a lot I can say about how and why growing up undocumented broke me in so many ways, but today I want to focus on how powerful my voice is, my family is, and my community is.”
Outside the ICE building, demonstrators prayed and sang to send off a small group of people who will walk more than 700 miles from Chicago to Washington, D.C. to protest President Donald Trump’s increased militarization of the Mexican border, which includes a wall. “We want to raise awareness in the community that it is necessary to continue fighting against the racist policies of the Government,” Anglican minister José Landaverde told Telemundo in April.