Local News

Demonstrators back worker rights in May Day rally

Posted May 1, 2017 5:32 p.m. EDT

— Scores of demonstrators rallied in Raleigh and Durham on Monday for higher wages and better treatment of women and immigrants as part of international May Day activities.

About 75 people gathered in Moore Square in downtown Raleigh on Monday morning before marching to the Legislative Building. Another group gathered in downtown Durham in the evening.

"We're trying to fight for better rights all across the board," 21-year-old Travon Bridges said. "We have (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in our state where folks are getting deported. We have women workers who are being sexually harassed by men. We have black and brown workers who are being plagued with racism."

The rallies included students, immigrants, people working minimum-wage jobs and others who supported their cause.

Amid the chants of "worker power," a man carrying an American flag said he attended the rally with his wife and son because he wants justice for all workers.

"This is for anybody struggling to pay their bills paycheck to paycheck," Bridges said.

Antonio Guierrez stood in the sweltering heat with his 8-year-old son. A native of Mexico, he has lived in Wilson for 15 years and is worried about his son's future.

"They think we are all criminals, and we are not all criminals," Guierrez said of immigrants. "I came over here because of poverty, and I’m living the best I can.

"I want him to have his father with him. I want him to grow in a good way and have good principles," he said of his son.

Rally organizers said they are convinced the demonstrations will raise awareness and eventually effect change.

"Demonstrations, mass mobilization throughout history, have created a tremendous amount of pressures on lawmakers, politicians, decision makers to shift and change according to the will of the people," said Loan Tran of the Triangle Unity Mayday Coalition.