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Ore. May Day Marchers Want to Send Message to Trump

Romeo Sosa of the organization VOZ says day laborers are misunderstood by the community. (
Romeo Sosa of the organization VOZ says day laborers are misunderstood by the community. (
May 1, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregonians are rallying across the state to stand up for workers' and immigrants' rights. Today is May Day - also known as International Workers' Day - which in recent years has become a day to celebrate the contribution of immigrants to American society.

Romeo Sosa is executive director of the VOZ Workers' Rights Education Project, which represents immigrant workers in Portland. He said his organization is calling for a general strike.

"One of the things that we wanted to do is not go to school, not go to work and not to buy anything,” Sosa said; “basically to send the message to the new administration that we are a pretty essential part of the economy and culture in this country."

Two rallies are planned in Portland on Monday: one at Portland State University at noon and the other at Shemanski Park at 2 p.m. Immigration advocates also will gather at the Capitol building in Salem.

Sosa's organization mainly represents day laborers, who he said are usually misunderstood and misrepresented. Most struggle financially to provide for their families, and he said about half are homeless.

But Sosa said despite the increased fear of Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, laborers still are going to work because they have to provide for their families, sometimes even in hazardous conditions. He said the Trump administration is trying to intimidate immigrant communities.

"The hate and fear can be defeated,” he said. "Our community needs to live."

Hundreds of May Day rallies are scheduled to take place across the country on May 1.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR