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MAY 1st: Happy International Labor Day!

"May Day" Celebrations at UCLA

The BlackQuaker Project is delighted to celebrate International Labor Day, a worldwide day of solidarity between labor movements, trade unions, and, above all else, workers in the struggle for basic human rights and dignity. The holiday--often known as “May Day,'' “International Labor Day,” and “International Workers’ Day”--is celebrated as a public holiday in most countries of the world, except in the USA, Canada, and several others. It was first established in the late 1880’s in response to various strikes and protests from workers around the world seeking an 8-hour work day. Of particular attention was the Haymarket Affair, in which peaceful protesters rallying in support of Chicago workers were the victims of severe police brutality. Over the course of the 20th century, International Workers’ Day became widely celebrated throughout the entire world, and is now recognized as a public holiday in most major economic powers, including China, Russia, Germany, France, Brazil, and Japan. International Workers’ Day has a rich history in South Africa, where it has been a national holiday since 1995. There it has intersected with the anti-apartheid movement and workers’ strikes since before the beginning of the 20th century. Today The BlackQuaker Project would like to hold in the Light employees of Whole Foods, Amazon, Target, and Instacart. Workers of all four companies are organizing a strike and walkout on this day over long-standing working conditions that have recently been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among their shared desires are health-care benefits, protective gear, paid leave, and hazard pay. These essential workers--often immigrants and native-born people of color--who have been providing the public with critical services during this unprecedented time, are continuing the tradition of fighting for human dignity, basic rights, mutual aid, and humanist care that International Labor Day inspires and represents.



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