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Sonoma County May Day March highlights local labor issues and immigration reform

Nearly 300 people marched Sunday in Santa Rosa to celebrate International Worker’s Day, rally around local labor issues and support the call for federal immigration reform.

The 1.4-mile march, called the Sonoma County May Day March , began at 1 p.m. in Santa Rosa’s Roseland neighborhood and ended in downtown at the Old Courthouse Square, where there were speeches and a theatrical performance.

A band full of saxophone players and drummers played music before local organizers began their speeches. And, a group of Aztec dancers performed as attendees waved Mexican flags in the air.

Marchers carried signs that said, “Que Viva Los Emigrantes” (Long Live the Emigrants) and “Solidaridad, (Solidarity) The Worker’s Struggle Has No Borders.”

Groups that were represented included North Bay Jobs with Justice, a local labor advocacy organization that is asking the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to incorporate more protections for farmworkers into county policy.

Hosts of Sunday’s march included the volunteer immigration rights group Comité VIDA, the Graton Day Labor Center and the North Bay Labor Council.

Also among the agencies in attendance was Teamsters Local 665, a local labor union, which supports Amy’s Kitchen workers.

“Many people here today don’t have anyone advocating for them at all,” Mike Yates, president of Teamsters Local 665, said. ”Helping workers, whether they’re citizens or not citizens is incredibly important. We need to take care of people that aren’t being cared for by the rest of society.“

The march’s attendees also advocated for federal immigration reform, a promise of President Joe Biden’s administration that has yet to gather enough support among lawmakers.

Maria Guadalupe Sanchez, who moved to Santa Rosa in 2003 from Guadalajara, Mexico, has worked for Amy’s Kitchen since 2005.

“I’m here because I want better treatment, health care and insurance. I want to be treated with respect, ” she said of Sunday’s march.

You can reach Staff Writer Mya Constantino at mya.constantino@pressdemocrat.com. @searchingformya on Twitter.

Mya Constantino

Features reporter

Stories can inspire you, make you laugh, cry and sometimes, heal. I love a feature story that can encapsulate all of those things. I cover the interesting people that exist around us, art and music that move us and the hidden gems that make Sonoma County pretty cool. Let's explore those things together.

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