May Day 2014 joins immigration reform with workers’ rights

L.A. MARCH — Credit: Victor Aleman

Almost 1,000 people marched and rallied on May Day in Los Angeles — but not only for the traditional rights of workers.

This year, with a Senate-passed bill stalled in the House of Representatives, an eclectic collection of groups also demonstrated loudly May 1 for immigration reform and stopping the deportation of undocumented immigrants. (Two smaller marches were held in a record-breaking hot downtown during the day.)

In fact, the moving sea of main marchers — awash in purple, yellow, black, red and white T-shirts from the Teamsters, hotel workers, musicians and nurses to CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles), Esperanza Immigrants’ Rights Projects and LA Street Vendors Campaign — wound up at the Federal Metropolitan Detention Center, where undocumented immigrants are held, often before being deported.

“Over 50,000 workers in Los Angeles are living in poverty because they’re not earning a living wage. And they are suffering deportation as well as not earning a living wage,” declared Angelica Salas, CHIRLA’s executive director, at the closing rally from a flatbed truck.

“Today we tell you we will not give up. We’re going to march in the streets. We’re going to march to the polls. We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that this country recognizes our labor, recognizes our humanity and keeps our families together.”

Maria Elena Durazo, executive-secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, introduced a “hard-working” undocumented young man named Ramon who she claimed ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) had targeted, instead of the supervisor who hired him and stole from his wages.

“We’re not going to tolerate it. We’re fighting back,” Durazo shouted. “We are here as a labor movement unified in support of legalization and stopping the deportations now.”

The march began at 11:45 a.m. at Cesar Chavez Avenue on Broadway, under Chinatown’s gateway double golden dragons. Latin music with a steady conga beat came from an eight-piece Latino group on another flatbed truck. Men, women, teenagers and children held up placards saying “Not 1 More Deportation,” “The Worker’s Struggle Has No Boundaries,” “Justice-Dignity — #May Day 4 All” and “We Support Citizenship, Stop Deportations — LA Unions.” A huge U.S. flag was supported on four sides by hard-hat laborers and immigration rights activists.

The marchers turned left on Aliso Street, skirting the 101 Freeway, and wound up beside the federal detention center. 

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who has been a torchbearer for comprehensive immigration reform in Congress for years, reminded the sunbaked crowd that President Obama had stopped the deportation of “Dreamers,” unauthorized youths brought to the U.S. as children. “Now it’s time for the President to understand he can free their moms and dads, and stop their deportation, too. So let’s be fair,” he said to shouts and applause.

“One way or another, I’m coming back in the fall,” promised the congressman. “We’re going to fill out papers so the people can be ready to get legalized. And we’re going to send those papers [back to Washington] so the people can stop from being deported and be protected. One way or another, we’re moving this movement forward.”

Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo pointed out how it was the people’s marching, signing petitions and lobbying that “moves us closer to the justice we deserve.” The former California assemblyman and senator cited the passage in 2013 of the law allowing illegal immigrants in the state to apply for driver’s licenses and the 2011 California Dream Act permitting many undocumented students to apply for student aid benefits as landmark examples of progress.

  “The Los Angeles City Council is proud to stand with you,” he said, stressing, “The state of California continues to raise her voice as we care about the people who live in our community. We don’t care about their immigration status. We only care about how they live here: Do they comply with the law? Do they work hard? Do they share our family values? Are they faithful people? Those are all the things that we care about.”

Cedillo also publicly asked President Obama to stop the deportations immediately. And he urged the marchers, “Don’t stop working. Don’t stop fighting. Don’t stop organizing.”      


Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”


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February 13, 2016

  • Saturday, February 13

    World Day of the Sick Mass, Mass and Anointing of the Sick, 12:30 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,  555 W Temple St, Los Angeles. Archbishop Gomez presiding with other bishops and priests. Special section designated for those in wheelchairs with volunteers available to help. Limited parking available for $8. Carpooling is encouraged. For more info: Chuck Huebner at cjhuebner or Jim LoCoco at



    Bosco Tech’s Yurak Memorial Run & Kids’ Fun Run, Check in begins at 8 a.m., Memorial Run at 9 a.m., Fun Run at 10 a.m., Bosco Tech, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead. Race registration is $35 per person. For school groups of 10 or more, the cost is $30. To register online, go to or; same-day registration available at check-in table. Included: racing fees, finisher medal, goodie bag and BBQ lunch. Plaques will be awarded to the top five male and female runners and to the fastest runner under 18.All proceeds to benefit Bosco Tech’s Yurak Athletic Center (YAC). 


    Cabrini Literary Guild “Sweetheart Bingo” Meeting, Sat., Feb.13 at Oakmont Country Club, 3100 Country Club Drive, Glendale. Meeting starts at 11 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m. ($30/person), and bingo social at 1 p.m. Bingo cards are $5 each, or $20 for five cards. For reservations, call (818) 790-3485.


    Footprints: Making Tracks for Neighbors in Need, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m., Bishop Amat High School track, 14301 Fairgrove Ave., La Puente. Catholic Charities San Gabriel Region will present this annual walk/run fundraiser to increase awareness about poverty, hunger and homelessness in the San Gabriel Region. Proceeds benefit those lacking basic needs, such as food, clothing, transportation and shelter. This is a come anytime, leave anytime event, with the first lap around the track to be led by Bishop David O'Connell. For more information, visit or contact Mary Romero at (213) 251-3582 or

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