International Workers' Day in Orange County will be marked by not one, but two marches in two cities. Starting off this morning, the Orange County Labor Federation will assemble at 11 a.m. outside Anaheim City Hall; from there, a march is to go to a rally in La Palma Park. Later today in SanTana, the Orange County May Day Coalition will host its annual May Day event at 2 p.m. The initial gathering spot, as always, is Sasscer Park on the corner Fourth and Ross streets, with a march and rally will follow.
"The city of Anaheim has gone through a lot, not only with social unrest and civil rights cases but also some of the worst employers are here," says Julio Perez, political director of the OC Labor Federation, of the chosen location for their mobilization.
City Hall will also be a rally point for the entrenched fight over district elections, but there are many more stops along the way. Heading towards La Palma Park, the AT&T building will be singled out as workers continue to struggle for a fair contract. Another focus during the march will be the ultra-popular Northgate Gonzalez Market, a Mexi grocery store whose employees are non-unionized and which runs a store just down the street from La Palma Park.
"At La Palma Park, we'll be mostly talking about comprehensive immigration reform. We see it all as one movement," Perez adds.
Representatives from the OC May Day Coalition will be part of the rally platform. "We're in solidarity with what local organizations are doing on a national level," says OC May Day Coalition member Maria Zacarias. Likewise, the OC Labor Federation is participating in the Santa Ana action, with a speaker planned for their program. "We didn't want anyone to think there was going to be two marches going on without any solidarity," says Perez, who will have a contingent of workers join in. "We're showing up and providing general support."
In SanTana, the OC May Day Coalition will also be joined by the UndocuBus, which traveled on a 'No Papers, No Fear Ride for Justice' that arrived at the Democratic National Convention last year and will park at El Centro Cultural de Mexico. The pro-immigrant strategic aims of the OC May Day Coalition will be hyper-local: noting record deportation statistics that are approaching the two-million mark under President Barack Obama, the grassroots organization will call to end the city's collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
In the summer of 2006, just a few months after historic immigration marches took place in Santa Ana and other cities across the United States, an 'inter-governmental service agreement' between the two was executed. According to documents obtained by theWeekly
, the city of Santa Ana began to provide detention services for ICE. Utilizing Santa Ana City Jail at a per diem rate of $82, the agreement is indefinite unless terminated in writing by either party.
Activists are hoping to begin a campaign to apply political pressure to end the collaborative relationship once and for all!
"We have people who have been directly affected by S-Comm at the local level," Zacarias says of the so-called Secure Communities program. "I, myself, as an undocumented person, there's always this fear whether you're just driving around not committing a crime, that you might get pulled over, and taken to the station. It's always in the back of my head. It's not healthy to have people living in fear even though they're not committing a crime."
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Don't immediately dismiss this coalition: last time they protested SanTana Police, they got their nasty impounding policy scrapped.Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz