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Los Angeles: Boyle Heights rallies for International Workers Day

By David Pulido

May Day march in LA.

Los Angeles, CA – For the eighth year in a row, Centro Community Service Organization (CSO) held their May Day march and rally in Boyle Heights. Over 50 people gathered to commemorate International Workers Day and to uplift the demands of legalization for all the undocumented, protecting public education, and community control of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. The event was emceed by David Pulido of Orange County CSO and Juliana Castellón of Centro CSO.

Sol Marquez, member of Centro CSO and Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), kicked off the rally with the demand for socialism and self-determination for Chicanos in the United States: “Long live the proletariat – the working class of this country who makes the entire profit for the rich, the profit that is stolen from us. Enough is enough!”

Rallygoers held a banner representing the Teamsters Local 396, and member Jared Hamil spoke about the upcoming contract fight with UPS and the conditions that the workers face on a daily basis. “UPS trucks don’t have ACs in them. Last week I clocked the inside of my truck at 120 degrees,” stated Hamil, who then reminded the crowd about Esteban Chavez, a UPS worker who died in Pasadena last year of a heat related illness while on the job. “That’s why come August 1, you may see 360,000 workers go on strike,” Hamil declared.

Other speakers and supporters at the rally included Orange County CSO, Baba Aikili of BLM-LA, Movimiento Oaxaqueño Migrante (MOM), Teamsters Local 396, Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), teachers and students from Torres High School, Eastside Padres Contra la Privatización, Resistencia Comunitaria, and MEChA at Roosevelt High School.

As the march began, chants of “What do killer cops mean? We got to fight back!” “La policía, la migra, la misma porquería!” “El pueblo, unido, jamás será vencido!” filled the streets.

The marchers arrived at the Hollenbeck LAPD station. Member of Centro CSO Luis Sifuentes condemned sexual predator Eric Uller, a volunteer for the Police Activities League in Santa Monica who was allowed to abuse over 200 children in Chicano neighborhoods since the 1980s, highlighting the conflict between the people’s needs and police policy. “FTP to these child molesting killer cops,” said Sifuentes. “We need something that gives more power into the people’s hands. Where we have the power to control their budgets, to have hiring and firing power over these fucking pigs, right?”

Jesus “Chuy” Chavez spoke on the California Highway Patrol murder of his brother, Leonel Chavez. Leonel was killed by CHP officers on September 28, 2021. CHP was investigating a car crash but instead of rendering aid to Chavez, they shot him eight times. “It took two years to get the autopsy report,” Chavez said. “It’s clear that they’re trying to cover something up. They’re trying to save their ass from going to jail.” Thanking the protesters, Chavez said, “Lotta people don’t care about low-income people, people in the hood. We gotta continue these fights and not give up.”

The marchers continued to Mariachi Plaza, where they enjoyed a theater performance by LA artist group Resistencia Comunitaria. The performance dramatized the history of labor struggle and national oppression in the U.S., stretching from the Haywood Market Affair of 1886 and the martyred workers, to the modern day fight against privatization and police brutality.

Antonia Montes, public school teacher at Eastman Avenue Elementary and member of Centro CSO, spoke about the attacks on education made by charter schools. She highlighted the spread of charters in East LA, and how public funding is being diverted to charter schools. On protecting public education, Montes stated “as Centro CSO Education Committee we are there to fight back! And to make sure that in East LA we stay organized to keep our rights.”

A member of the Centro CSO Immigration Committee called on the Biden administration to end Title 42 and to demand legalization for all undocumented people in this country. Recalling the Legalization for All delegation to Tijuana, he described the ongoing construction of the border wall. Originally built at 15 feet tall, the wall will now be built to 30 feet under the Biden administration, because it was determined that at 30 feet “death or serious bodily injury is going to occur from falling.” He then called on the Biden administration to stop construction of the border wall, “a cruel punishment that is happening to our people.”

Plans are to continue with the Boyle Heights tradition and if you are interested in helping and participating, reach out to CSO at (323) 484-8630 or @MayDayBoyleHeights on Instagram or Facebook.

#LosAngelesCA #ChicanoLatino #May1