This past May Day people all over the nation came out to call for immigration reform. Fueled by the outrage over the recent passage of Arizona’s SB 1070, over 1 million people participated in Saturday’s events with signs saying “We Are All Arizona,” “No Human Being is Illegal” and ” Sí se Puede.”
Los Angeles boasted the largest rally with an estimated 60,000 supporters marching from downtown to City Hall. Protesters totaled 20,000 in Dallas and over 10,000 in Chicago and Miluakee.
In Washington, D.C., Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) donned a shirt that said “Arrest Me, Not My Friends” and staged a sit-in with thirty other people on the sidewalk in front of the White House. They were arrested, but in front of thousands of supporters, Rep. Gutierrez announced, “There are moments in which you say, ‘We will escalate this struggle.’ Today they will put handcuffs on us. But one day we will be free at last in the country we love.”
People representing the Tea Party, Minutemen and other groups also came out to voice their opposition. In San Francisco, there was a brief verbal scuffle between the local Golden Gate Minutemen and Norcal Tea Partiers and those against SB 1070, but police quickly defused the situation.
And finally, Arizonans came out in full force to peacefully demonstrate. An estimated 7,000 participated in Tuscon, with speeches by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and prominent labor activist Dolores Huerta. In Phoenix 5,000 people rallied in front of the State Capitol.
President Obama has previously stated that immigration reform is next on Congress’ agenda, but to keep the pressure on sign the petition to call for a plan that includes fairness, accountability and dignity.