Annual May Day March electrifies East Bay cities


Paz Sandoval,

Immigrant and workers’ rights took center stage at this year’s annual May Day March. The Oakland version of May Day is hosted every year by the organization Oakland Sin Fronteras, a group that hosts and attends events aimed at tackling social justice issues.

On May 1, 1886, with the desire of an eight hour workday, more than 300,000 workers from across the United States walked out of their jobs in protest of unfair and unsafe working conditions, according to CNN. This demonstration lasted until violence unfolded two-days later between police and strikers on May 3, ending what was to be known as the first ever May Day.

“The goal of the march is to show community strength and solidarity across a wide range of issues and movements,” Mohamed Shehk, a member of Critical Resistance, a subgroup of Oakland Sin Fronteras, told The Pioneer. “May Day has always been about workers rights and their struggle, but we also have to understand when we talk about workers rights we are also talking about how different issues impact immigrants in this country.”

Shehk was adamant about opposing the Feb. 12 budget proposal from President Donald Trump that proposed a $1.1 billion cut to the United States Department of Labor.

“We condemn all attacks coming from this presidential administration,” Shehk told The Pioneer. “We organize May Day every year because believe in respect for all worker rights and are out there to defend workers efforts to organize.”

Sgt. Mike Williamson of the Oakland Police Department said in preparation for this year’s May Day, “Oakland PD has staffed additional units, and conducted pre-event meeting,” for the safety of all citizens, demonstrators and police at this years May Day March.

People from all over the Bay Area attended the event.

Rick Maisel, a volunteer at the event who was passing out water and snacks, said he was there to support working people and workers rights. Others like Reyna Jauregui, a Fremont High School senior, were there for personal reasons. She joined the march “for my parents, I am a daughter of immigrants and migrant rights are workers rights. I think May Day is important to Oakland because Oakland is a migrant community.”