Members of Chelsea Uniting Against the War (CUAW), joined with family and friends from Chelsea, East Boston and Everett in the celebration of International Workers’ Day, May 1. This year the protest began at Liberty Plaza in East Boston and ended in Glendale Park in Everett. Hundreds of workers, immigrants and U.S.-born, women and men, young and old, speaking English, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and other languages marched through the streets of our communities.
Marchers chanted: “The People United Will Never Be Defeated” (“El Pueblo Unido Jamas Sera Vencido”) and “The Working Class Has No Borders” (“La Clase Obrera No Tiene Frontera”). A popular chant was “Ho, Ho, Ho, Donald Trump Has Got to Go.” Drivers gave the marchers “thumbs up” from their cars and families along the route came out of their houses and joined in the chants of the marchers.
Union participation in the march included members of the Carpenters, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), Hotel and Restaurant Workers, Service Employees, United Steel Workers and Communications Workers unions. The keynote speaker was Esther Lopez, Secretary Treasurer of the UFCW International. Lopez spoke of the need for workers to stand up for dignity and self-respect and the importance of workers organizing into unions and community organizations to defend ourselves and our families against ongoing government and corporate attacks.
As part of the mobilization, CUAW distributed hundreds of May Day leaflets at Chelsea and Everett high schools. UFCW members and a youth worker from Everett joined us in these efforts. The high school students were very friendly and receptive. They seem to have been uplifted by recent student protests against violence in our schools, as well as by local struggles against cutbacks in education. We were pleased that the percentage of youth in the East Boston-Chelsea-Everett May Day activity was greater than in past years.
Demands of the marchers included “Communities without racial attacks,” “Education not deportation,” “Sanctuary everywhere,” “$15/hour minimum wage” and “Paid family and medical leave.” Let’s build our unity and organization and continue to fight for these demands! Let’s also fight against the record $700 billion 2018 federal defense budget approved by both Republican and Democratic Congressional representatives and demand: “Money for Jobs and Education not for War and Deportations!”
To learn more about Chelsea Uniting Against the War, contact us on Facebook at Chelsea-Uniting-Against-the-War, e-mail us at [email protected] or call 617-889-2841.
Lyn Meza is a resident of Chelsea and community leader and organizer.