Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sweeps in the Bay Area and across the nation have separated working parents from their children, forced families to flee in haste to countries of origin many scarcely know and caused millions of others to live in fear of harassment and deportation.
On May 1, immigrants, their supporters, union activists, students and others will join hundreds of marches, rallies and speak-outs across the United States supporting immigrant rights.
In Berkeley, the UC Berkeley student government will lead marchers to Oakland where they will join the Oakland rally at the Federal Building in downtown Oakland.
“It’s significant that the ASUC [Associated Students of the University of California] will lead the march,” said Dimitri Garcia, the ASUC student senator who authored the resolution calling for the student government to support the march. “It adds much more weight to the urgency of fighting the [ICE] raids,” Garcia said.
The ASUC resolution in support of the march condemned the raids ICE dubbed as “Operation Return to Sender,” in which they targeted “immigrant neighborhoods and workplaces, in particular those of Latina/o populations, referring to over 600,000 immigrants as ‘fugitives.’ ”
At the university, May Day is to start with picket lines forming at 7:30 a.m. at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue to call for the participation of UC students and employees.
At 10 a.m., one group of marchers, led by ASUC student officials, will begin a march from Sproul Plaza down Telegraph Avenue, ending up at the Oakland Federal Building, where they will join the Oakland march coming down International Boulevard.
Others will rally on campus between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. And one contingent will march to the downtown Berkeley BART at noon to travel to San Francisco Civic Center to join the rally there.
Another organizer of the Berkeley event, graduate student Snehal Shingavi, noted the importance of May Day, traditionally focusing on worker rights and evolving into a day focusing on immigrant rights issues.
“Immigrant rights is very much a worker issue, honoring the legacy of May Day and the contributions immigrants make to the economy,” Shingavi told the Daily Planet.