Chanting “Sí, se puede” and “No Wall,” several thousand Bay Area residents rallied this May Day at Justin Herman Plaza and then marched down San Francisco’s Market Street to City Hall, making their voices heard as a way to show solidarity and support for workers across the globe. That includes the immigrants who have long been the backbone of the U.S. economy.
An exuberant MEDA contingent was part of the event, marching to the sound of rhythmic drumbeats as the nonprofit’s banner gleamed in the midday sun. That group included staff, volunteers, parents and other community members concerned about recent political vilification of newcomers, particularly the Latino immigrant community.
Waves of Latino immigration from Mexico, Central America and South America have long contributed to the growth of this nation’s economy and created a vibrant culture. Most came north to escape political strife or to free themselves from abject poverty in their homelands. That is never an easy decision, but it is a decision that is easier to make when you know there is a safe, welcoming place for you on the other side.
MEDA knows that immigrants have made our nation strong from the start, creating a dynamic country that is the envy of the world. Immigrants start small businesses, are consumers and are taxpayers. Latino immigrants have played a vital part in making California the sixth largest economy in the world. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that California’s GDP was $2.5 trillion in 2015, up 4.1 percent from a year earlier.
According to the Public Policy Institute of California, the state is home to an estimated 2.5 million undocumented immigrants. On an economic level, nearly one in ten California workers is an undocumented immigrant — about 1.75 million workers.
That’s why Monday’s May Day popular event hashtags included #DíaSinInmigrantes, #NoBan, #NoWall and #StandUp.
As today’s march showcased, MEDA remains steadfast in its vow to:
- Work diligently to ensure that San Francisco honors its commitment to remain a strong sanctuary city.
- Implement San Francisco’s recently passed Proposition N, which gives noncitizen residents the ability to vote in school board elections.
- Support our allies fighting for fair and just immigration policies.
- Always stand up against entrenched xenophobia, racism, homophobia, misogyny and any other form of discrimination.
- Uncompromisingly protect and stand up for our immigrant families.
That’s a promise.