Long Beach, News

Annual May Day demonstration sparks conversations on social change

Rachel Hanna and  Jonathan Rulison, Staff Writers 

Hundreds of community members gathered at MacArthur Park Wednesday to march in solidarity and chant slogans such as “What do we do when people are under attack? Stand up, fight back!”

As advocates marched across the globe for International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day, Long Beach had many organizations involved in making this event happen for locals. Some organizations included the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition, Filipino Migrant Center and Housing Long Beach.

Advocacy groups and other activists marched together, shoulder to shoulder, amid a sea of signs representing support of higher minimum wage, open borders, tuition-free college, social justice and many other causes.

As participants accumulated in the park, James Suazo, associate director of Long Beach Forward, briefed the rest of the safety staff while discussing May Day.

“This is a holiday meant to recognize the labor that working people put in to make our communities run.” Suazo said. “It shows that working people have a lot of power when we stand together across our differences and all the things that we value.”

According to Suazo, May Day is a global holiday that acknowledges the different struggles among communities across different racial backgrounds and countries.

“Though we may be renters, though we may be Black folks, Latino folks, queer folks as well, we all face oppression in different ways,” Suazo said. “We are powerful when we come together.”

According to Jonathan Solorzano, senior community organizer of Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition, the coalition was one of the first organizations to help put together the May Day Coalition. The coalition organizes marches in Long Beach to make it more accessible for community members who may not be able to participate in the Los Angeles marches.  

“May Day for me is an opportunity for working class, people of color here in the city and all over the world to really celebrate the diversity of workers of the world,” Solorzano said. “Without workers, this world would not be what it is.”

As the march concluded at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, spokespeople gathered the group among surprised spectators to reflect on the significance of May Day.

“It means liberation,” said Nathan Carloajal, marcher and junior Chicano and Latino studies major at Long Beach State. “Coming from a working class family, immigrant family, May Day brings back emotions and liberation and a future that I think will be possible one day.”

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