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Eugene May Day rally focuses on the dignity of immigrant workers

 

About 50 people gathered in downtown Eugene today for a May Day rally in support of workers and immigrants.

 

Phil Carrasco, a local Latino community and labor organizer, says the rally “was to celebrate our workers.”

 

“We want to make sure that we are talking about the least fortunate among us,” Carrasco says. “The one’s that get the types of jobs that everyone says — American’s don’t want to do those jobs.”

 

The rally featured speakers from the Latino community, who highlighted the problems faced by immigrant workers.

 

“This is not so much a time to focus on Donald Trump,” Johanis Tadeo says. “This is the stuff that we have been facing before Donald Trump, this is a time to focus on ourselves and grow within ourselves as a community.”

 

Tadeo is the organizer of Springfield/Eugene’s City Wide MEChA and a community organizer at Community Alliance of Lane County.

 

Ali Doerr says that it is important for her to support this cause and the activists fighting for immigrant and labor rights. She attended the demonstration to show her support for the immigrant community. Doerr says, “because I have white privilege I feel like I need to stand up and show my support.” Doerr is a senior studying Planning, Public Policy and Management at the University of Oregon.

 

While the rally did garner some friendly honks and thumbs-ups, there was one man in a gray SUV who heckled the demonstrators yelling “build the wall” as he drove by. No one responded to the taunt.

 

Unlike May Day rallies in Portland, Paris and around the world, Eugene's rally stayed peaceful.

 

Alex Aguilar, a Springfield high school student and youth coordinator for City Wide MECha, emphasized the importance of raising a voice for those who cannot. “We’ve been sleeping too much,” Aguilar says. “We need to speak for people who can’t because they might be scared to speak up.”

 

Carrasco says he was happy with the turnout and is looking forward to seeing the May Day event grow in the future.

 

“It would have been nice to have 7,000 people, that would have been awesome,” Carrasco says. “But as long as we are getting the message out to people that is what’s important.”