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Mayor, Councilmembers Call For Participation in May Day March

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, April 29, 2010, at 03:10PM
May Day March Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Workers from American Apparel marched from the company's Downtown headquarters on May Day in 2009.

Using recently-passed Arizona legislation as a rallying point, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today joined Councilmembers Jose Huizar and Ed Reyes in urging participation in Saturday's planned march supporting immigration reform.

"I encourage all Southern Californians to join the May Day activities in Los Angeles," Villaraigosa said. "I encourage you to voice your support in unity and solidarity."

"I ask that you march peacefully," he continued. "I ask that you demonstrate to our city, our state, the nation and the world that the people who come here, in the vast majority, come here to work, they come here to contribute, they come here to participate in this great American dream."

The Arizona law requires police to check the identification of those who they believe may be illegal immigrants. "No one should be afraid to walk down the street because of the color of their skin," Villaraigosa said. "This law is not just anti-immigrant, it's anti-American."

"What's happening in Arizona is intolerable, it's unacceptable and it's unconstitutional," Reyes told the crowd of cameras and reporters crowded into the Mayor's Press Conference Room. The Mayor and Councilmembers were joined at the podium by more than a dozen immigration rights supporters.

"We've got to march May 1," Huizar said. "We're all at risk, not just immigrants. ... Saturday is about unity, it's about asking and demanding immigration reform, it's about celebrating our workers, who have made this country what it is."

All three called for the comprehensive federal immigration reform. Villaraigosa and Huizar added their support to a motion by Councilwoman Janice Hahn and Reyes to use the city's economic power to boycott Arizona. "Our intent is to use our dollars, or the withholding of our dollars, to send a clear message, because it's a message that gets a point across," Villaraigosa said.

Organizers have said that they expect up to 100,000 to attend Saturday's march, which will start at Broadway and Olympic and end with a rally at Broadway and Temple. Street closures will start by 6am near the starting point, with most cross-streets closing around 10am and expected to reopen between 1 and 3pm, depending on turnout.

The Mayor also gave some logistical advice, encouraging marchers to wear white, to "bring your American flags and wave them proudly," to bring bottled water and to pick up after themselves.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck held a 5pm press conference to talk about the rally, and with many of the same activists standing behind him he used words like "celebration" and "parade" in describing Saturday's events. Beck reiterated the department's commitment to Special Order 40, put in place under former chief Daryl Gates. Special Order 40 prohibits LAPD officers from initiating contact with the purpose of determining immigration status.


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