Over 30 Members of BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest marched, danced, and chanted on the streets of Seattle on May 1st, joining thousands of immigrant families, workers, community and labor organizers, and allies on International Worker’s Day. BAYAN PNW marched as part of an API Contingent, and for the first time in 13 years since El Comité and the M1AC have been organizing the march and rally, a Youth and Student Contingent. Anakbayan Seattle, along with the Seattle Young People’s Project, was pivotal in leading and drawing support for the youth and student contingent.
At the rally, BAYAN PNW regional co-coordinator, Nicole Ramirez shared the stage with SeaTac airport concession worker, Chandra Upreti, and Bags worker, Saba Belachew, and kababayan and OUR Wal-Mart leader, Gerry Paladan, who spoke of their struggle as immigrant, poverty wage workers.
Ramirez called for genuine immigration reform, stating that the bills that were being discussed in the federal government were not enough: Not enough for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. not enough for the 1.5 million people who have been deported under President Obama’s administration, not enough for the 1,200 people detained at the Tacoma Detention Center, not enough for the 4,500 Filipinos who leave the Philippines and their families in search of economic opportunities, and not enough for our local workers organizing for livable wages and safer working conditions.
“Our struggles as workers, as immigrants, as LGBTQ peoples, and youth and students are intrinsically linked to our struggle for human rights,” Ramirez stated.
Only a couple of months later in July, BAYAN PNW joined an action to support Gerry Paladan. Paladan was one of 11 protesters across the nation who, upon returning from the protest in Bentonville, Arkansas, was suspended and eventually fired from his job. Despite petitions and numerous rallies showing the communities’ support for Paladan, his job has yet to be reinstated.