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May 1 ‘Great American Boycott of 2006’ for immigrant rights gathers momentum

Published Apr 22, 2006 12:12 AM

The national call for a May 1 “Great American Boycott of 2006: No Shopping, No School, No Work” to demand full rights for immigrant workers and their families is gathering momentum. This call, initiated by the March 25th Coalition Against HR4437—a grassroots coalition that grew out of the Los Angeles action that brought hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers into the streets last month—has likened the May action to the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott of 1955. Organizers want to exercise both political and economic power on that day.

The call has struck a chord in many immigrant communities. For many immigrant workers May 1 is celebrated in their home countries as a day to commemorate the working class struggle and is marked with marches and rallies worldwide.

In Los Angeles, taxi drivers have vowed to shut down LAX airport and trogueros (truck drivers) will be closing the harbor. Demonstrations are being planned in both major and smaller cities throughout the country, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago and New York. Wherever possible, students and workers are planning both individual and group action. Many small businesses, particularly in the Mexican community, will be closing.

On the weekend of April 22, organizers will meet in Chicago to form a national network to continue this momentum. Following the meeting, there will be a press conference in Washington, D.C., on April 24, the date that Congress reconvenes.

In New York City, the Million Worker March Movement and the Troops Out Now Coalition, which were planning a May 1 rally and march from Union Square, voted to support the immigrant rights movement and the “Great American Boycott” action. The coalitions had held a march and rally last year to revive May Day and were actively making plans to march again this year. Chris Silvera, secretary treasurer of Teamsters Local 808 and president of the National Teamsters Black Caucus, proclaimed, “We support and embrace this movement.” His union local is hosting the May 1 Great American Boycott 2006 Coalition, which is composed of the many immigrant communities of New York City including Latin@, Filipin@, South Asian, African, and Caribbean communities.

Nationally organizers are making plans to politically and legally support any worker or student who is retaliated against for their participation in activities.

For more information please visit www.nohr4437.org or email [email protected].