Not even a torrential downpour, it turned out, could deter the crowd that gathered in Raleigh’s Moore Square on Monday afternoon for a May Day rally. As the rain unexpectedly pummeled the park, rally-goers nabbed colored ponchos, ducked into tents, and hid under protest signs (including a large Fight for 15 banner). “Damn, we must be serious about the revolution if we’re still out here,” a young woman in a “resist” pin joked.
May Day is an international workers day, and the rally — which featured speakers from organizations including Raleigh’s Comite Accion Popular, the Black Youth Project, and The North Carolina Public Service Workers Union, to name a few — was a diverse gathering with intersectionality and solidarity as a rallying cry. Organized by the Triangle May Day Coalition, a Durham-based coalition of grassroots groups, activists and attendees talked about the importance of defending workers and their allied causes particularly in the Trump era, from defending LGBTQ rights to supporting immigrants, women, Muslims, and the Movement for Black Lives.
May Day rallies were held worldwide, including in Durham, where demonstrators marched down Main Street and disrupted a City Council
meeting to read their platform.
“There’s an all-out war going on against black working class folks, against unions,” Angaza Lauginghouse, a founding member of NC’s Black Workers for Justice organization, told the INDY
. “And all over the world people are beginning to rally and say we need to build united fronts to continue to fight. People have seen this as a good time for rallying all our friends and allies so that we can unite in one movement to take on these challenges. And we have to go broader and deeper. We have to organize neighborhood organizations, tenant associations in our apartment buildings, we have active forums in our schools and engage people in the political fight. And certainly, we need to be talking about workplace organizing.”
As Lauginghouse spoke, a handful of people stood inside a portable jail cell made out of wood, symbolizing the fear gripping many in the state’s undocumented community, David Salazar of Si a las Licensias NC explained. “Every single day they feel like they’re going to be in jail. This is what our community lives through every single day. They can’t come out of their houses, go shopping, go to work. They feel like they’re going to be incarcerated."
Nearby, Antonio Gutierrez listened intently to the speeches. His eight-year-old son, Antonio Jr., was also there, carrying a sign with a picture of Jesus over an American flag. It read: “Whoever follows Trump does not follow me. I don’t do evil.”
Antonio Guiterrez Jr., eight, participates in a May Day rally in Raleigh on Monday.