Los Angles: Boyle Heights celebrates May Day with march and rally
Los Angeles, CA – On May 1, dozens of people gathered in Boyle Heights to commemorate the historic International Workers Day. The event was led by Centro CSO, which held a May Day Rally in the Chicano neighborhood for the seventh consecutive year to highlight social issues like police terror, privatization of education, and immigration.
The rally kicked off at noon on the corner of Cesar Chavez Avenue and Mathews Street with music, and speeches from MORENA-LA chapter leader Alejandro Mendez who talked about the need for solidarity with the struggle for democracy and against privatization in Mexico; a representative from the US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) who spoke on the self determination of Palestinians, and a speech from Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO )member and local Teamster leader Jared Hamil. Hamil talked about the history of May Day and how it started as part of the fight for an eight-hour workday, a fight which is still an ongoing struggle in his workplace where some are facing down 14-hour days while others struggle to get to just four.
Hamil also spoke about how the working class got hit the hardest by the pandemic, saying, “We were on the front lines during COVID, and what do we have to show for it? What did we get? We got COVID.”
Dr. Rocio Rivas, a candidate for the Los Angeles school board, talked about the need to support public education and stop the invasion of charter schools causing the growth of privatization in LAUSD [Los Angeles Unified School District]. She asked everybody to turn out and vote in the June 7 primary election.
The rally marched west down Cesar Chavez Avenue. Marchers filled up the entire street with their presence, and their cries of “Jail killer cops” and “Up with public education, down with privatization'' were loud and clear. The rally went past the site where 14-year-old Jesse Romero was murdered by two-time killer LAPD cop Eden Medina. Marchers proceeded to LAPD Hollenbeck Station for speeches from local families whose loved ones were also killed by police violence. The David Ordaz Jr., Marco Vasquez, David Sullivan and Jose Mendez families joined the march and rally.
At Hollenbeck Station Black Lives Matter-LA member Joseph Williams spoke about the solidarity between the Black lives movement and the Chicano movement, and how the two struggles are interconnected saying, “None of us are free until all of us are free.” Williams said, “The legacy of police violence and murder and mass incarceration and the criminalization of immigrants and border are a legacy of colonial violence, and the project of white supremacy is still working today.”
The focus on immigrant rights and legalization for all was a major issue this year, and representatives from the Mexican MORENA party had sponsored the event. Protesters outside Hollenbeck Station also heard demands for justice from the families of David Ordaz Jr. and Jose Mendez, both of whom were killed at the hands of local police. Carlos Montes with Centro CSO denounced LA Sheriff Villanueva and called for his ouster; and called to support the campaign for community control of the LA Sheriff's department. Montes asked people to endorse the Check the Sheriff coalitions working to change LA County laws to give more power to the LA Civilian Oversight Commission.
After the speeches in front of LAPD Hollenbeck, the protesters continued on towards Mariachi Plaza for music, spoken word and testimony from local organizers that helped make the event happen. Sheridan School paraprofessional Edelyn Ortiz greeted the rally with the great news of victory in stopping the threat of a KIPP Charter co-location.
This year's event was sponsored by Black Lives Matter-LA, USPCN, Centro CSO, FRSO and CSULA MEChA. Avery Raimondo, one of the lead organizers, stated, “May Day was another step forward in Centro CSO's campaigns to defend public education, build community control of the police and win legalization for all. Our teachers from Boyle Heights and East LA came out to fight against privatization. LAPD Hollenbeck heard from the families of Jose Mendez, David Ordaz Jr. and other victims of police brutality in LA.”
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 @FRSO-Los Angeles on Facebook and Instagram.