May Day: for justice in our communities

By Martin Negrete

               May Day (May 1st), is a day of action to honor all hard-working people across the nation and to fight for immigrant and refugee rights. People use this day to unite, rally, protest, and fight back against the injustices in the workforce and anti-immigrant systems.

               Spokane has been a part of the May Day actions for the last few years and led by the EWU student group M.E.Ch.A. (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan). This year M.E.Ch.A. teamed up with PJALS, Center for Justice, Crimson Group, Raiz of Planned Parenthood, and Spokane Immigrant Rights Coalition to prep for this iconic day of action.

               There are multiple May Day actions across the nation, and though we are all part of the same movement to fight for justice, it is important to understand that every action has their specific purpose/goals that fit their localities.  In Spokane, we used May Day to highlight the injustices coming from our local county jail and the unjust collaboration from Greyhound and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).

               The Spokane County Jail has an intergovernmental Service Agreement to collaborate with ICE and CBP to jail undocumented immigrants while making a profit. They get a certain percentage of profit per person (undocumented folks) that they can withhold in the jail, and for transferring them to Yakima. With the new legislation Keep Washington Working, it will be illegal for local jails to renew certain agreements with federal agencies. But though the bill has passed the contract still has 2 more years to be in effect. OUR ASK to Spokane County Commissioners: Do not wait 2 years for the contract to expire; END it NOW and stop being part of inhumane system that separates families.

               Greyhound has been collaborating with CBP for a long time. They are allowing CBP agents to freely roam across their onboarding station and target folks to ask about their immigration status. Taking the bus and having the right to freely travel is a human right, and this collaboration effects the lives of a lot of our community members.

               We will keep fighting to seek justice for our communities; as we hope that May Day Actions will keep growing. A special thank you to all the folks that showed up and to Mihtotiliztli Spokane-Danza Mexica and Baile Folklorico of EWU for the performances! Hope to see more folks Next year y  La Lucha Sigue!