By Samantha Bartholomew
About 300 people marched in Riverside May 1, demonstrating against President Donald Trump’s actions against undocumented immigrants and other marginalized groups.
The march was put on by the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice. This organization has been putting on May Day rallies since 2006, during which protesters across the nation called for immigration reform in response to a bill that criminalized undocumented immigrants.
May Day is celebrated as an international day honoring workers. The rallies are typically held to show support for the rights of workers and immigrants. Many people honor the day by calling out of work and some businesses even close for the day to show their support.
For this year’s May Day rally, the organization advocated for not only immigrants and workers, but also addressed the struggles women, youth and the LGBTQ community are facing under the new administration.
“We are all fighting for the future of the next generation,” marcher Anthony Gracia said. “We are stronger together than we are divided.”
One of the legislations discussed was the California Values Act which intends to make California a ‘sanctuary state.’
If passed, the bill will prohibit local and state law enforcement agencies from collaborating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain or deport undocumented immigrants.
American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California’s community engagement and policy advocate Luis Nolasco said he believes the bill will better protect immigrants from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
“This is the strongest piece of U.S. legislation around the country aimed at stopping the mass deportation regime that President Trump wants to take part in,” Nolasco said. “California needs to lead the way in fighting back against these policies.”
Protesters rallied at Riverside City Hall to demand that council members deem Riverside a sanctuary city.
Councilman Andy Melendrez made an appearance, telling marchers that there has not been enough council support to make such a designation. He said the issue is being discussed and urged protesters to continue to make themselves heard.
“We need you to come out,” Melendrez said to the crowd.
However, marchers criticized city elected officials for not marching with them.
“There are so many issues troubling our community,” marcher Bianca Ayaya said. “It is ridiculous that our supposed leaders stand by as we do the dirty work.”
Many march attendees said they felt this march was a much-needed event in light of the animosity towards marginalized groups from not only the public, but also from the administration.
“None of us know what’s going to come out of the White House next,” marcher Hannah Alvarez said. “But I do know that I will never be alone in the fight.”