May 1, 2016 marked the tenth anniversary of the great immigration rights marches of 2006 when over 250,000 people marched in San José for comprehensive immigration reform and against the Sensenbrenner Bill that would have criminalized undocumented immigrants in the U.S. They also marched to celebrate the 130th anniversary of International Workers' Day when 80,000 mostly-immigrant workers went on general strike in Chicago for the 8-hour working day.
Hundreds of enthusiastic workers, their families, and activists rallied at Story and King Roads, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, and Mexican Heritage Plaza in San José to merge into a single march of over one thousand people all the way to City Hall. Led by the largest group of Aztec dancers ever, the march followed in the footsteps of the annual May Day marches.
The march and the pre-march and post-march rallies were infused with energy from a large participation by youth activists, who invoked calls for continuing the struggle of working people for social justice. With Aztec drummers in the background, they chanted, "What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!"
The rally at City Hall highlighted janitorial workers, security workers, and other service workers employed by contractors to high-tech corporations. These workers are presently struggling to unionize in the face of growing income inequality in Silicon Valley. The tech sector has historically resisted union organizing. May Day embodies the modern history of the struggle for labor rights and the right to organize.
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