Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

May Day Marchers Emphasize Intersectionality

Photographs and stories from a peaceful edition of the annual March for Immigrant and Workers Rights.

On Tuesday, hundreds of people marched through the streets of Downtown Seattle for the 19th annual May Day March for Immigrant and Workers Rights. As they trailed behind dancers wearing headdresses, demonstrators clutched signs that called for livable wages, the end of deportations, and fairer immigration policies.

May 1 Action Committee for El Comité led the march that started in Judkins Park, and concluded about two hours later outside of the federal courthouse. Although the police were originally concerned that clashes would break out, there was nary a dispute between anti-capitalist activists and the conservative fraternal group Proud Boys or the pro-Trump Patriot Prayer movement.

Malaya Movement organizer Donna Denina, 41, pulled her two children behind her in a caravan as the sound of helicopters buzzed overhead. She joined the march’s Womxn of Color and Families Contingent “to highlight that women workers, particularly migrant women, are often the most impacted when it comes to worker’s issues in terms of pay, labor exploitation, wage exploitation,” Denina said, adding that many immigrant women who are experiencing financial hardship leave their families to work abroad. “Our message is really in solidarity with those … migrant worker women that have to undergo those particular issues.”

Others attended the event to voice their opposition to some of President Trump’s immigration policies. The nationwide ban of refugees and immigrants from predominately Muslim countries hit close to home for SEIU Healthcare organizer Baboucarr Njai, a 46-year-old Muslim originally from Gambia. In fact, one of his friends had been deported back to Gambia just last month. Njai ultimately expressed a hope for “equal rights and justice for all.”

The theme of intersectionality dominated Tuesday’s march, as some demonstrators voiced their support for workers rights as well as their opposition to the construction of a new youth detention center. J.M. Nimocks, a 24-year-old Masters of Social Work student at University of Washington, marched with local environmental justice organization Got Green. Nimocks pulled a caravan filled with snacks for other demonstrators’ children as she marched through the International District. Nimocks joined the demonstration to call attention to the displacement of minority communities in South Seattle, and the alleged unfair labor practices at grocer New Seasons Market. “We’re definitely in support of making sure that workers rights are being respected, and that they’re fairly compensated,” Nimocks said, her voice eventually drowned out by the cacophony of drumming and chanting.

Speeches at this year’s March for Immigrant and Workers Rights expanded beyond labor issues, remarked Indonesian Lutheran Fellowship pastor Diakonda Gurning. As one of the march’s lead organizers since 2006, Gurning cited the Seattle Women’s March as a catalyst for greater intersectionality at Tuesday’s event in comparison to previous years’ gatherings. “I’m here because I have seen that fear has started seeping into our communities. So I think that I’m coming out to remind people that this is the exercise of being in a democracy,” Gurning said as he walked down Second Avenue. A moment later he hopped onto a makeshift stage positioned in front of the federal courthouse to share his message with the crowd.

mhellmann@seattleweekly.com




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Donna Denina joined the 2018 May Day event to highlight the issues facing immigrant women workers. Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Donna Denina joined the 2018 May Day event to highlight the issues facing immigrant women workers. Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Baboucarr Njai marched for workers rights and to express his concern about President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Baboucarr Njai marched for workers rights and to express his concern about President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. Photo by Melissa Hellmann

J.M. Nimocks demonstrated to call for an end to the new juvenile detention center, and unfair labor practices. Photo by Melissa Hellmann

J.M. Nimocks demonstrated to call for an end to the new juvenile detention center, and unfair labor practices. Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Christian Jimenez, 19, marched on behalf of his parents, who are immigrants from Mexico. Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Christian Jimenez, 19, marched on behalf of his parents, who are immigrants from Mexico. Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Carlos Lopez, 48, said he joined the march to fight against racism towards immigrants. Photo by Melissa Hellmann

Carlos Lopez, 48, said he joined the march to fight against racism towards immigrants. Photo by Melissa Hellmann

More in News & Comment

Photo of promotional recruitment banner used by Auburn Police Department at Petpalooza. The banner features Auburn Police Officer Jeff Nelson, who is awaiting trial for the 2019 murder and assault of Jesse Sarey. Photo courtesy of Jeff Trimble
Auburn police use photo of embattled officer on recruitment banner

Families of people killed by Jeffrey Nelson, who’s awaiting trial for murder, speak out over use of his photo at Petpalooza.

T
Use your King County library card to explore the outdoors

KCLS cardholders can check out a Discover Pass for two weeks to explore public lands.

Monkeypox virus. Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control.
King County identifies first presumptive monkeypox case

The illness is not as easily transmitted compared to COVID-19, according to health officer.

This screenshot from Auburn Police Department bodycam footage shows an officer about to fire his weapon and kill dog on May 13, 2022.
Auburn police shoot dog, and owner claims it wasn’t justified

See videos of attack as well as bodycam footage of officer firing at dog.

File photo.
King County Council approves creation of Cannabis Safety Taskforce amid rash of dispensary robberies

The multi-agency task force will cooperate to find ways to improve safety in the cash-only industry.

Screenshot from ORCA website
New ORCA system launches for regional transit across the Puget Sound

Overhaul includes new website, mobile application and digital business account manager.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Diane Renee Erdmann and Bernard Ross Hansen. Photos courtesy of FBI
FBI arrests Auburn couple after 11-day manhunt

The couple was previously convicted for fraud and skipped sentencing on April 29.

Most Read