May Day demonstration in New London calls for support of oppressed groups

New London — Activists at a May Day demonstration at Parade Plaza Monday evening rallied for the rights of workers, undocumented immigrants and refugees and called for solidarity among oppressed groups.

About 90 people gathered by the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown to mark International Workers' Day. Some held signs that proclaimed "Stop the Assault on Workers' Rights," "Dissent is Patriotic," "Speak Truth to Power," "Immigrants' Rights are Human Rights," "The Future is Female," "I Stand With Planned Parenthood," and "We Are in This Together #One World."

"Let us remember that the most oppressed groups are disproportionately represented in the working class," Nate Moore, a member of the International Socialist Organization, said while addressing the crowd. "The struggle for the rights of the most oppressed in our society is also the struggle of the working class as a whole."

The International Socialist Organization and other activist groups organized the protest Monday to commemorate the movement in Chicago for the 8-hour work day in 1886, said Moore. They were also celebrating that May Day has taken on new meaning and become more widespread due to the immigrant rights movement that began in 2006, said Moore. He added that May Day has taken on more importance with the Trump administration. 

During the demonstration, protesters chanted:

"Get up. Get down. There's a labor movement in this town."

"Hold the burgers. Hold the fries. We want our wages supersized."

"No Trump. No KKK. No Fascist USA."

"No hate. No fear. Immigrants are welcome here."

Speakers at Monday's event represented groups that included labor, the Green Party, immigrant advocacy, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

"In our daily lives we must show love and compassion and kindness to our marginalized and oppressed neighbors," said Michael Doyle, the founding director for the Immigration Advocacy and Support Center in New London. "Show this community the kind of person you are, the kind of movement we are, not only here, but at the grocery store, the library, the restaurant, everywhere. Extend your hand in your way to make our community a better community, a sanctuary community, a freedom community, a community for all of those, particularly the most scared by our present government."

He further called for unity, saying "Your cause is my cause, my cause yours."

Irene Weiss, a board member for The League of Women Voters of Southeastern Connecticut, attended the rally and held a sign in honor of her grandmother from Belarus that stated "My Grandmother was an Undocumented Immigrant."

She said the league supports comprehensive immigration reform, including the DREAM Act and to work for a path to citizenship for those who are here and haven't committed serious crimes.

k.drelich@theday.com

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