Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) joined more than 100 organizations rallying today against policies and rhetoric by the current administration that threaten families, communities, and the nation’s values of justice, fairness, and equality.
Today’s Los Angeles May Day march is expected to be one of the largest in the country.
Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, spoke at the end of the march, at a rally at Grand Park in front of City Hall in Downtown Los Angeles. Here’s his remarks, as prepared for delivery.
Today, on May Day, Asian Americans Advancing Justice marches with UPLIFT, undocumented Asian and Pacific Islander youth organizing against oppression. We march this May Day to say loud and clear that we will protect our families, neighbors, friends, and co-workers. We will resist policies that are anti-worker and anti-immigrant.
Today, we unite in solidarity because we must learn the lessons of 25 years ago, from “Saigu” or the 1992 Los Angeles civil unrest. We must have trust between police and community. The police cannot be an occupying military force. Today, it means that the police cannot be an occupying deportation force.
Today, we unite in solidarity because we must learn the lessons of 75 years ago, when 120,000 Japanese Americans – the majority U.S. citizens – were unjustly incarcerated during World War II. Today, it means that racial profiling and mass incarceration have no place in our society.
Today, we unite in solidarity because we must learn the lessons of 135 years ago, when Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. The 1882 act was the first time – but clearly not the last time — the U.S. banned immigration by a specific racial group. Today, it means that there should be no walls and no bans based on race, ethnicity, or religion.
Today, we unite in solidarity and resistance. We know when racism burns, it burns us all. In the last four months, 150 Asian Americans have been victims of hate attacks across the country. We may be victims, but we will not be paralyzed by victimization. Today and every day, we unite in solidarity and stand in resistance with all workers, all immigrants, all those silenced by oppression.
Known around the world as International Workers’ Day, “May Day” has evolved in the United States to be a celebration of immigrants and workers. Today’s march in Los Angeles included families, workers, students, women, LGBTQs, Muslims, and people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds marching in resistance to the current political climate of scapegoating and fear-mongering of immigrant communities.