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Immigrant Communities Coming Together for May Day

May Day rallies across the country are expected to be ramped up this year in opposition to the Trump administration. (Chuck Taylor/Flickr)
May Day rallies across the country are expected to be ramped up this year in opposition to the Trump administration. (Chuck Taylor/Flickr)
May 1, 2017

PASCO, Wash. -- Today is May Day, and Washingtonians are rallying with people across the country in support of laborers and immigrant communities.

Otherwise known as International Workers' Day, May Day now is also associated with immigrants' rights. The Tri-Cities area has been planning May Day protests since the "Day Without Immigrants" protest in February, when every Latino-owned business in Pasco closed up shop.

Organizer of the May Day march, David Cortinas of the Tri-Cities Latino Coalition, said he expects a similar response today.

"The time was chosen so that we could have the students and the college students and all those that would like to participate come and participate,” Cortinas said. "A lot of the businesses will be closing. A lot of the businesses are going to be sending their employees to the march."

May Day rallies in Seattle in past years have at times been violent. In 2016, five police officers were injured.

But the May Day rally in Pasco is expected to be different. Speakers from the Latino, immigrant and Muslim communities, as well as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - or DACA - students are scheduled to speak.

Washington state Democrats also are participating. Cedar Kennedy with the progressive caucus of the state Democratic Party is scheduled to speak. She said the new administration is harming immigrant communities of all kinds in central Washington.

"Trump's agenda is not only terrorizing Latino farm workers, which we hear a lot about, but it's upsetting high-level workers as well,” Kennedy said.

Cortinas said people should take Trump at his word when it comes to his rhetoric on immigrants. Because of that, he said, communities need to stay together and show a united face.

"Uniting with others, building bridges together, and uniting with the entire community that support our issues because that's the only way we're going to be able to get anything done,” Cortinas said.

Marchers will rally in Pasco's Volunteer Park at 3 p.m. A number of labor and immigrant protests are also planned in Seattle.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA