NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – For decades, May Day has been a national day of protest for workers rights. On Monday, hundreds of immigrants, students, and residents marched through downtown Northampton, demanding fairer treatment for immigrants.
Immigrants like Manuel, who came from Ecuador to be a cook. He told 22News, “We’re here to work. We’re not doing anything. It’s not true when they say we’re rapists, we’re criminals. Most people who come here work hard to support our family.”
Mosaic Cafe and Dobra Tea were among 18 businesses in Northampton, Florence, and Springfield that closed in solidarity. The demonstrators sang, chanted, and discussed the changes they want for immigrants across the country. Some of those changes that they’re asking for include increasing the minimum wage, resisting travel bans that continue to go on, and also stopping deportation that continues to rip families apart.
The Pioneer Valley Workers Center sees first-hand how their living and working conditions influence the lives of our immigrant neighbors. PVWC organizer Diana Sierra told 22News, “I work every day with immigrant workers and moms who come in crying into our office because they’re really afraid what will happen to them if they are taken away.”
Sierra said improving immigrant rights starts with protests like these that demonstrate the power of numbers.