WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Folks around the globe are gathering Monday for May Day marches. May Day, also known as international workers day, usually sparks demonstrations over labor issues. However, major cities are all rallying around immigration reform. Wichita joins these cities with a few events of their own.
Earlier in the day people crowded around the parking lot of Lawrence–Dumont Stadium, chanting for equal rights.
“We are here because we not only want to raise attention to immigration reform but we want to liberate our people,” said one local Wichita man.
This was one of several pro-immigration rallies being held today with a common theme of, education before deportation. Local community leaders set the march off with a few words to inspire folks to hold their signs and flags just a bit higher.
“We need to stand up for everybody, so that we can stand up for each other and we can make sure everyone has equal rights,” said James Thompson.
People at the march describe their efforts as a peaceful boycott that demonstrated the importance immigrants have in our community.
“This is a fight,” said a local speaker. “And not for papers, not for a green card and not to become a citizen; this is a fight for liberation.”
Some businesses decided to close for the day while others said they simply just couldn’t afford to close. Like Juarez Bakery, who said they still had a full load of orders to get out for the day.
“It’s been really busy today,”said Jamie Luna, of Juarez Bakery. “We support the movement, but we can’t afford to close down today, we aren’t prepared for that.”
Other local businesses joined then in keeping their doors open for the day, saying they too were not prepared to close. We spoke to a lot of different people in attendance for Monday’s festivities, some who say they are glad local immigrants are speaking out and showing the impact immigrants can have on our communities.
“They’re afraid of being alienated and honestly no one should be alienated for voicing their opinion on anything,” said Joseph Ivy, a local photography in attendance for the march.