May Day: Beyond the Moment
The following statements have been written by The Majority, the Beyond the Moment Coalition, and Women’s March
For the 9th action in our 10 Actions / 100 Days Campaign, Women’s March, in partnership with our fellow Beyond the Moment coalition members, is engaging in a national campaign intended to expand and strengthen multi-racial, multi-sector and local long-term organizing capacity around the fight for justice, freedom and the right to live fully, with dignity and respect for all people. As part of The Majority – a newly-formed coalition of more than 50 organizations – we are mobilizing our movements to participate in May Day actions nationwide, and to do so with an understanding that patriarchy is not the only system oppressing women. Capitalism, militarism, anti-Blackness – which Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to as the “giant triplets” of oppression – as well as homophobic, transphobic, ableist, xenophobic, nationalist and ageist bigotry, are all deeply linked forces of oppression.
HISTORY OF MAY DAY
May 1st or May Day (International Workers’ Day) emerged out of the fight for an eight-hour workday in 1886, an era when workers were routinely forced to work 12+ hour days without time off. In Chicago, over 100,000 people took to the streets on May 1, 1886, kicking off a series of daily demonstrations that climaxed with the Haymarket Affair. Striking workers clashed with police, resulting in several deaths – four of the protesters were later hanged. Often overlooked is the fact that one of the key organizers of this strike, and one of the most radical labor activists in American history, was Lucy Gonzales Parsons – a Black, Mexican, and Indigenous woman.
May Day has since evolved into an international day of labor rights and immigrant rights activism, involving protests, marches, sit-ins, strikes, and other demonstrations – often organized by unions – to draw attention to economic inequality and exploitation and to advocate for better working conditions and pay. Collectively, women of all races, backgrounds, abilities, ages, and classes have taken on numerous roles in organizing, unionizing, rallying, and inspiring workers throughout the world to to fight for workers’ justice. Women of color have always been at the forefront of labor movements, although many have been left out of historical and even activist narratives.
This May Day, we are uniquely positioned to recast the predominant narratives around economic justice toward a more radically inclusive frame that elevates the voices of Black and Brown workers, particularly women and femme workers, and brings together a broad coalition to provide meaningful interventions around intersecting forces of oppression, and the promotion of racial and gender justice.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
Here are three ways to participate in May Day, and to get involved as coalition members with Beyond the Moment:
Hold a Workshop: Download the workshop outlines on the Beyond the Moment resources page. Choose those that you feel will challenge you most – just as you did for #ReflectAndResist. Meet with your huddle – or even with one friend or family member – and participate in the workshop(s) you selected.
Support a Partner on May Day – and Beyond the Moment: Attend a May Day action. You can find a Beyond the Moment-affiliated action here or a Rise Up for Immigration Reform action here. If there are no actions listed in your area, please connect with your state’s Women’s March chapter to find a May Day action near you – or simply search for one on your own! The most important thing is that we show up, that we flood the streets to declare that until anti-Blackness, economic oppression, and state violence have been eradicated, women will never be free. These fights are all of our fights. Connect with local groups in your city or town that are holding May Day actions or focus on labor justice and Black liberation work. Find a way to support those groups – by donating funds, joining as a new member, or elevating their work online.
Use Your Voice – and Your Wallet: Be vocal in your opposition. Download the graphics below and post them on social media using the hashtags #MayDay and #BeyondTheMoment to proudly state that you are participating in the fight against anti-Blackness and xenophobia, and for true equity. Participate in campaigns like #GrabYourWallet and #DivestDAPL to truly put your money where your values are.