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Santa Ana rallies for International Workers Day

By staff

International Workers Day march Santa Ana, California.  | Fight Back! News/staff

Santa Ana, CA – On Wednesday, May 1, over 100 people gathered to rally and march for International Workers Day at El Centro Cultural de Mexico. The event brought forth demands such as legalization for all of the undocumented, community control of the police, solidarity with Palestine, permanent rent control, and more.

The rally began with community members hearing about the origins and the significance of May Day. It started in Chicago in 1886 when workers were striking for an eight-hour workday, among other demands. They were attacked by police and four strike organizers were publicly executed.

After the opening rally, the march began as the crowd took to the streets chanting, “Free Palestine!” and “la migra, la policia, la misma porqueria!”

The first stop was in front of the Santa Ana Police Department where David Pulido, a member of Community Service Organization, Orange County (CSO OC) brought attention to a police gang that is forming in the Major Enforcement Team. Pulido stated, “MET officers sexually assaulted a fifteen-year-old girl at a family restaurant. The Department of Internal Affairs sabotaged the investigation, and no officers were held accountable.”

Daniel Jimenez, another member of CSO OC, talked about the Santa Ana Police Officers Association (POA) and the funding they provide to council members’ campaigns, including $209,332 for Santa Ana Mayor Valerie Amezcua. A cardboard cutout of her with devil horns and a “for sale” sign could be seen in the crowd as Jimenez stated, “If councilmembers don’t vote the way the POA likes, they fund recall campaigns against those members.” He and Pulido underscored the need for community control of the police to prevent this corruption and lack of police accountability.

Diana Terreros, a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), spoke about the connection between May Day and immigrant rights struggles. Torreros stated, “The more rights immigrant workers have, the less the capitalists will be able to exploit them and other workers. To fight this super exploitation, we must demand legalization for all of the undocumented. This will give immigrants rights and protections without requiring them to become citizens of a country who is responsible for the destabilization of their home countries.”

At a stop in front of Black Panther Park, Maria Torres, a speaker from Nuestra Manos, a domestic workers organization, stated, “I invite you to not forget this day as the beginning of the fight for workers. Join local organizations to continue standing up for and learning our rights. If we do not fight, we do not win.”

Carlos Perea, a speaker for Harbor Institute for Immigrant & Economic Justice, spoke about the recent wins the residents of Santa Ana have acquired, including rent control, a police oversight commission and more, despite the corrupt councilmembers. He shouted “Shame on Mayor Amezcua for selling out her community! Are we going to stand for that?” and the crowd enthusiastically responded “No!”

Another stop was made in front of a statue of Alex Odeh, a Palestinian-American activist who was killed in Santa Ana in 1985 after a Zionist-planted pipe bomb detonated when he opened the door to the office of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. At this stop, a statement from the Palestinian Youth Movement was shared where they stated, “We appreciate those who have taken action in any ways that they could to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause,” and called for continuing to boycott and disrupt U.S. companies that are funding and aiding Israel.

The crowd returned to El Centro Cultural de Mexico to enjoy live entertainment that consisted of baile folklorico and poetry readings. One poem from CSO OC member Rain Mendoza addressed the recent collapse of a Baltimore bridge leading to the death of six immigrant workers, highlighting again the connection of International Worker’s Day and immigrant rights.

The event was put on by a coalition of organizations including: El Centro Cultural de Mexico, Colectivo Tonantzin, CSO OC, Orange County Environmental Justice, Chicanxs Unidxs, VietRISE, FRSO, and others.

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