1st is being called a National Day of Action, with some calling for a
nationwide business boycott to illustrate the contribution immigrants make to
the economy and American society. But some immigrant groups are planning
another way to mark the day. NY1’s Jeanine Ramirez filed this report.
They made their voices heard earlier this month as thousands of immigrants and
their supporters rallied at City Hall for immigration reform. Now they’re
looking to keep that momentum going.
On Tuesday, immigrant and labor groups announced plans to assemble on May 1st
at exactly 12:16 in the afternoon to link arms in a dramatic statement.
Groups around the city are coming together but staying in their neighborhoods
to form a human chain, says Gouri Sadhwani of the New York Civic Participation
Project. On May 1st we’re going to lock hands as immigrant students, as
immigrant workers, as immigrant business owners, and as immigrant communities
to show our unity and strength for comprehensive immigration reform.
The demonstration is scheduled to last about 20 minutes. It’s a show of
solidarity with a National Day of Action. On the same day, many immigrants
nationwide are planning a strike.
While these groups are not endorsing any boycott, they believe their method
will be just as effective. They expect thousands to turn out in all five
boroughs, from Fordham Road to Flushing, and from Battery Park to Park Hill.
Hundreds of immigrants are going to join hands within view of the Statue of
Liberty to say that we are America, that we’re here to live in America, to work
in America, and to build this country," says
Irene Tung of Make the Road By Walking.
A lot of immigrant communities have relocated and established roots in the
Park Hill area. We anticipate a large turnout," adds another activist.
These groups are encouraging all New Yorkers to join in the event during their
lunch hour. The time 12:16 was chosen in symbolic protest of December 16th,
2005, the day the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would make
criminals of illegal immigrants, speed up deportations and toughen borders.
They say this time, they’re committed to turning their grassroots movement into
That involves voter registration, voter education work, it involves continued
direct action, it includes citizenship activities, says Chung-Wha Hong of the
New York Immigration Coalition. It’s a multi-faceted program that we’re
rolling out. It’s not about a one-day, one-time statement.
Organizers say the demonstration will be a peaceful one, and they’re
encouraging all who participate to wear white.