Today, on May 1, Planned Parenthood is joining organizers across the country to rise up and fight for immigrant, refugee and workers rights as we celebrate International Workers’ Day (aka May Day).
May Day is a commemoration of the nationwide workers strike in 1886, when workers demanded the right to an eight-hour work day. The May Day protests and their annual commemoration helped drive significant momentum to unionize workers for living wages, better working conditions and an end to child labor, and other achievements in workers’ rights in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
May Day became a day to more explicitly connect why solidarity with workers must include immigrants and undocumented workers a decade ago, in the wake of Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner's Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (H.R. 4437).
Key provisions of Sensenbrenner’s bill sought to build a taxpayer-funded $1.8 billion fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. The bill also sought to criminalize undocumented people and those who housed undocumented people as felons simply for their undocumented status.
After the bill passed the House, protests were organized across the country. The protests culminated on May 1, 2006. Named a "Day Without Immigrants,” the May 1, 2006 protests aimed to bring awareness and attention to America’s broken immigration system — a system where immigrants, and especially undocumented immigrants, are often exploited, denied basic labor and legal protections, and live in fear of having their lives uprooted and their families torn apart.
The need for collective solidarity and action to protect immigrants and refugees becomes more apparent when we consider the impact of our immigration system on women and families.
According to Center for American Progress, women make up more than half of people seeking to become documented in the U.S.
May Day serves as a national and international day of action that demands we recognize that the right to living wages, safe working conditions, affordable health care, paid sick and parental leave, and the right to migrate with dignity and justice are inextricably linked — especially for women. We cannot achieve a world with reproductive freedom without unequivocally declaring that health care is a human right, regardless of documented status.
Working families, immigrants, and refugees are an essential part of the Planned Parenthood family. They are Planned Parenthood’s patients, volunteers, activists, supporters, clinicians, and staff.
We invite you to join us as we #RiseUp to declare that Planned Parenthood stands with immigrants, workers and those who are fighting for a fairer and more just world!
When we fight together, we win.
Learn more about the barriers impacting undocumented women’s health how you can #RiseUp against them:
- Planned Parenthood Saved This Undocumented Immigrant’s Life