Los Angeles: Boyle Heights celebrates May Day
Protesters demand legalization for all, jail killer cops!
Los Angeles, CA – For the sixth consecutive year, Centro CSO held their May Day march and rally in Boyle Heights. Main demands were “Legalization for all” and “Jail killer cops.”
At 11 a.m., attendees assembled at the corner of Mathews Street and Chavez Avenue. Luis Sifuentes with Centro CSO started the rally with a passionate and inspiring speech about the importance of International Workers Day.
“The working class fought back against the monopoly capitalists who subjected us to super exploitation and inhumane living conditions almost 200 years ago and won the eight-hour work day,” Sifuentes said. “The richest nation in the world is completely incapable of helping working people while the richest people, the ruling class, got richer this last year. We need to put an end to that system!”
After these words, the crowd began marching down Cesar E Chavez Avenue. The lead sound truck hoisted large flags of Aztlan and Black liberation and marchers carried signs that read “Legalization for all,” “Jail killer cops” as well as flags with the faces of Che Guevara and Malcolm X. Eventually, they passed the site where Los Angeles Police Department officer Eden Medina killed 14-year-old Jesse Romero on August 9, 2016. Next, marchers went down Chicago Avenue where they stopped in front of LAPD’s Hollenbeck station for a protest rally denouncing police killings. The families of Anthony Daniel Vargas (killed by East LA Sheriffs in 2018), Daniel Sullivan (killed by Buena Park PD in 2019), and Isak Aden (killed by police in Eagan, Minnesota in 2019) denounced killer cops and called for moving funding from police to communities. Aden’s sister Sumaya Aden asked the crowd, “Who keeps us safe?” The crowd chanted back, “We keep us safe!”
The march included a large contingent from Black Lives Matter-LA, and Save Our Seniors, Eastside Padres Contra La Privaticazión, MORENA – the Mexican political party. Endorsers included Justice X, MECHA de CSULA, Third World Power, White People for Black Lives, La Raza Unida Party, LA Catholic Worker, U.S. Palestinian Community Network, Casa del Mexicano Gardners, and music performances by Zada Musica, a singer, songwriter, public school teacher.
Marchers continued down 1st Street to finish with a rally at Mariachi Plaza. The crowd heard from members of Centro CSO and Eastside Padres Contra La Privaticazión about the fight against charter schools in Boyle Heights and surrounding neighborhoods. Dr. Melina Abdullah of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles called for Black and Brown unity and a People’s Budget. David Maldonado, who is half-Chicano and half-Japanese, called out Pacifica Corporations for threatening, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the eviction of Boyle Heights, and Japanese elders from Sakura Gardens assisted living facility in Boyle Heights. Maria Hernandez, the mother of Daniel Hernandez who was killed by LAPD in 2019, demanded justice for victims of police brutality. Members of MEChA de Cal State University of LA, MORENA, AIM, and the Catholic Worker also spoke.
Carlos Montes of Centro CSO talked about how the people want and demand legalization for all – not just DREAMers and farmworkers, but for all. He called on the rally to demand and fight for legalization so that people can work without fear. Montes acknowledged the rights of American Indian tribes to sovereignty and national development, and the right of self-determination of the Chicanos in the Southwest who work in mines, factories, farms, ranches and service industries.
Marisol Marquez, who emceed the event, spoke about the importance of joining a revolutionary organization like Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Marquez talked about the importance of organizing among the working class and oppressed nationalities in order to build revolutionary organization.
“In Aztlan we have been busy organizing May Day,” said Marquez. “And building the foundations for revolution. We do this every time we attack the Banditos, and the Executioners, the same gangs found within the East LA Sheriffs and other stations of LASD. We do this every time we fight against an eviction or a charter school coming into Boyle Heights. But revolutionary organization is the key to unlocking our oppression. Because these types of attacks won’t stop, until the entire system that orders these attacks is overthrown.”
The rally was joined by marchers from downtown LA organized by the United Brown Coalition who also brought a group of danzantes/tribal dancers to perform. May Day Boyle Heights 2021 ended with music and spoken word by Sammy Quetzali of Boyle Heights. The call to continue organizing and fighting for immigrant and workers’ rights resonated throughout Boyle Heights.
To join Centro CSO in the fight against police killings, to promote public education and win legalization for all contact them at 323-943-2030, [email protected], or @CentroCSO on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook. To join FRSO contact them at frso.org/join or @Freedom Road Socialist Organization Los Angeles on Facebook and Instagram.