On May 1

Joining voices with those who've remained silent for too long

By Abelardo de la Pe?a Jr.
Published on LatinoLA: April 28, 2006

On May 1

I've alerted my employer that I won't be working May 1. My wife has put in for time off. We'll send a note to school letting them know my daughter won't be coming in that Monday.

We're not alone.

A large number of Latinos and others are expected to mobilize that day to bring attention to one of the most impactful issues facing the U.S. - immigration reform - against the backdrop of Congress wrestling with rival immigration bills. These past few weeks, we've seen marches through city streets in nonviolent protest, school walkouts by students, and chatter and opinion on the airwaves, the Internet and in text messages. The collective refrain: Treat all immigrants, documented and unauthorized alike, with dignity.

Going by different names: "El Gran Paro Primero de Mayo," "A Day Without an Immigrant," and "The Great American Boycott 2006," organizers envision a day where kitchens are short of help, beds are left unmade, and assembly lines are stopped or at least slowed down, all to illustrate the importance immigrants have in the U.S. workforce and economy. Not everyone agrees. Elected and church leaders oppose the boycott, which they say could lead to job loss and backlash.

It won't be easy for many, particularly those who innately have a sense of responsibility to their employer, their job, their livelihood. But by making a statement in support of immigrants and their contribution to U.S. culture, community, and economy, we stay-at-homes can join voices with those who've remained silent for too long.

The downtown rally will begin at noon at Olympic and Broadway. Demonstrators will march to City Hall, where a rally is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

A second rally will begin at 4 p.m. at MacArthur Park. Demonstrators will march to the La Brea Tar Pits.

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