LOS ANGELES - There were thousands of people in Downtown Los Angeles demonstrating on this May Day. The theme - "Essential and United for Justice." The gathering started around noon at S. Broadway and Olympic Boulevard, with speakers like John Herrera saying things like, "I just want to tell you, when we fight, we win!" A rally cry for a sea of people in Downtown LA Including community worker Erika Schwerdt and, house cleaner Maria de Gonzalez.
Both women live in different parts of the area; they do different things. But like everyone in this march, they share similar feelings.
De Gonzalez says she’s fighting for fair treatment because people like her and members of her family get unequal treatment in their workplaces. Schwerdt sails she feels disrespected, "all the time yeah."
For the undocumented, those marching want a pathway to citizenship. And for one group their concern is Temporary Protective Status — an immigration status to protect those who would find it unsafe to be deported.
Marching were union workers, community action groups, demonstrators representing immigrants and indigenous groups.
Another issue important to demonstrators was fair wages. One group pushed the idea of a $20 an hour minimum wage. To marcher Miriam Estrada, "$15 is not enough for the caregivers or even all of our workers. Twenty it's that time."
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May First, also known as May Day, has a history. Polo Morales with The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights says, "It’s how we got the 8-hour workday, from the Hay Market Riots. It’s always been an immigrant day here in the United States." Meanwhile, John Herrera with the LA Federation of Labor says, "There [are] inequities still, there’s suppression. We’re just fighting for equality for workers."
Which is why workers like de Gonzales and Schwerdt march Says Schwerdt, "It feels great to be with all of the people supporting all of the struggles, workers and immigrants together."