WITNESS is proud to support workers around the globe fighting for fair immigration policies, safe working conditions, and pay parity. On Monday, May 1st we join the calls to action to continue and amplify these efforts by joining Rise Up NY! – supporting New Yorkers affected by anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and anti-worker policies. For over 100 years May Day has served as a day of unity and action—for worker rights and for immigrant rights—and this year’s act of resistance will be another in a long line of shared struggle.

While May Day turns out enormous protest crowds and labor strikes from Dhaka to Berlin and Mexico City, popular support critically waned in 20th-century United States, despite its origins in the 1886 Chicago workers’ strike. May Day’s inaugural year of 1886 saw hundreds of thousands of workers representing laborers from over 13,000 businesses across the United States protesting for better and safer working conditions under the tenets of collective organizing and direct action.

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This article from a May 1886 edition of The New York Times reports on the violence at the May Day rallies in Chicago that year.

Unfortunately, the police brutality faced by protesters at the subsequent Haymarket protest over 130 years ago still occurs today, both in the US and abroad, and often targets immigrants, day laborers, and POC.

To join and support the cause, check out some of the local May Day actions in NYC and wear red in solidarity if you can!  

Before protesting and especially filming, keep in mind these tips for safe and ethical participation:



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