We Want Freedom: Workers and Immigrants Bolster Freedom Cities Movement

May 1, 2017 — Workers and allies from the Freedom Cities movement  will be marching on May Day, a day for global labor activism, to demand Freedom Cities: cities without fear, where communities control the resources they need to thrive.

Freedom Cities is an intersectional movement that seeks to redefine safety, making entire cities, towns, and communities safe for immigrants, Black people, workers, Muslims, trans and gender nonconforming people, and all oppressed communities. The movement was born from the vision of New York’s essential workers — the restaurant workers, retail workers, taxi drivers, day laborers, street vendors and others whose work is undervalued and whose existence is often criminalized.

“I am going out on May Day for all of us workers — we are immigrants, women, LGBTQ, people of color, and we work in industries across the city. Without our labor, who will serve New Yorkers their coffee, stock their shelves, clean their houses, construct their buildings — who will make NYC run?” said Lydia Tomlin, member of the Restaurant Opportunities Center and the New York Worker Center Federation.

Marchers from Freedom Cities, including, Enlace, The New York Worker Center Federation, The Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Black Youth Project 100, Million Hoodies, Beyond the Moment, and other allies will join the 6th Annual Immigrant Worker Justice (IWJ) Tour. The tour highlights the struggles of over a dozen social justice campaigns across NYC and elsewhere, with stops throughout downtown Manhattan calling out state and corporate abuse.

Freedom Cities calls for the protection of all members of our communities and demands that we expand our vision of safety — safety is when workers are paid living wages, have the right to organize, and aren’t targeted for their race, religion, or documentation status. This year’s IWJ tour will focus on the intersecting issues of systemic criminalization and worker exploitation.

“I’m marching on May Day in solidarity with all workers, in NYC and abroad, who are facing the abuse and violence of a racialized capitalist system that revolves around corporate profits instead of around what human beings need to thrive,” said Henry Gonzalez, organizer with Million Hoodies NYC and member of the NYC Freedom Cities coalition. “Black and Brown communities worldwide are forced into an exploitative system built off the legacy of settler-colonialism that reaps profit off of their labor and struggle. Today we fight back as we take to the streets without fear.”

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