May 3, 2018


Alex Montances | (562) 607-7282 |                                                                          Norberto Lopez | (323) 439-5224 |

May Day Long Beach Hits the Streets to Rise up, Resist, and Reclaim Power!


The May Day Long Beach coalition marched to City hall as local residents along the route cheered and waved in support. Photo: Courtesy of Jonathan Solorzano

LONG BEACH, CA– On May 1, 2018 in commemoration of International Workers Day, over 200 community members marched from Cesar Chavez Park to City Hall to defend workers rights and speak on issues that affect many working class communities. The theme of the march was “Resist State Violence, Rise Up for Our Communities, and Reclaim Our Power” in Long Beach.  The march was organized by May Day Long Beach, a coalition of over 19 social justice groups, non-profits, labor unions, and other grassroots organizations.

The program featured numerous speakers like George Funmaker from Red Earth Defense who honored First Nations like the Tongva Tribe with an opening ceremony, and Xenia Arriola from Gabriela Los Angeles who performed a song to highlight U.S. military funding for political killings in the Philippines. Other speakers like Jonaya Chadwick from Housing Long Beach spoke about how her family is facing eviction and how all residents need renter protections, while the mother of Eric Rivera from Wilmington spoke about police brutality and the murder of her son by police officers. Alejandra Campos from Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition highlighted challenges that undocumented families face such as the lack of access to healthcare. Campos exclaimed, “Healthcare is not only a one person issue, but an issue of everyone regardless of immigration status, and our communities deserve to live healthy!”

All the speakers and organizations highlighted workers issues and the need for organizing and building a mass movement in Long Beach to protect the community. Nereyda Soto a hotel worker organizer spoke about how hotel housekeepers fear retaliation from management, experience sexual harassment from guests, and are overworked and underpaid. Soto talked about how the union helped workers talk about their pressing issues, “We realized how bad the situation was, not just in our hotels but all around the country.  We have to start somewhere, and we started speaking out here in Long Beach! We started doing actions, marches, walking from Westin hotel to City hall… My coworkers, the housekeepers have been with me this whole fight for the last 3 years.” Nereyda called on the Long Beach city council and community to struggle alongside hotel workers by passing Claudia’s Law and other policies to protect workers from harassment or abuse.

Another speaker, Robert Bagalawis, a 16-year-old member of Anakbayan Long Beach shared the story of his Filipino immigrant parents and their struggle to raise a family in Long Beach.  Bagalawis spoke about how his parent’s wages are too low and that they work so many hours that they rarely spend quality time with their children. Robert called for all of Long Beach to unite, “We have to create the changes we want to see and it takes organizing each and every person here, in our schools, and in our neighborhoods to resist state violence, rise up for our communities and reclaim our power.” The May Day Long Beach march ended at City hall with rap and musical performances by local artists Patricia Poston (Poetic S) and Vanessa Acosta.

The May Day Long Beach Coalition demands that city leaders pass policies that protect all Long Beach residents especially workers, undocumented immigrants, LGBTQ, people of color, and other marginalized communities. We support policies like the Long Beach Values Act with no carve outs, rent control and renter protections, healthcare programs for all regardless of immigration status, and Claudia’s law to protect hotel workers from harassment and abuse.  We also call on Long Beach residents to join organizations and build a mass movement to stand against the Trump administration and state sanctioned violence.  We stand against U.S. Imperialism and military intervention in Syria, the Korean Peninsula, Palestine, and the Philippines, and instead call for increased funding towards education, healthcare, housing, and social services at home.  The May Day Long Beach coalition and rally is an opportunity for all Long Beach residents to stand together against war, hate, and bigotry, and stand up for justice and equality.


*Note to Editors:  Additional photographs, interviews, and videos available on request

TheMay Day Long Beach Coalitionis a coalition of 19 diverse community organizations that are united by a belief in the power of the people. May Day Long Beach is pro-immigrant, pro-workers, pro-human rights, pro-social justice, and pro-Black Lives Matter.  For more information, visit the May Day Long Beach  Follow the coalition onFacebook,Instagram, andTwitter; and read the Coalition’sManifesto– a living document on some of the most important issues of today, including workers’ rights, immigration, racism, and police brutality.