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Grand Rapids workers and students join millions worldwide celebrating May Day

April 16, 2010

GR IWW bottom-lines
MayDay2010 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. May 1

  • Live music, speakers and kids’ activities
  • 11 a.m. – 1 community potluck
  • 2 – 4 p.m. Really Really Free Market

Martin Luther King Park
Fuller & Franklin SE, Grand Rapids

Local community organizations, labor groups and performers are coming together for MayDay 2010, a huge community event in the spirit of solidarity on Saturday May 1, 2010―the 124th anniversary of International Workers Day.

International Workers’ Day originated in 1886, when hundreds of thousands of workers across the United States went on strike. In Grand Rapids, 7,000 furniture workers of the Knights of Labor left their workplaces for an impromptu march. Workers demanded that their 10- and 12-hour work days be shortened to an 8-hour day with no reduction in pay. Over the next few years, thousands of workers won the 8-hour workday that many take for granted today.

“In these times of layoffs and bank bail-outs working people need to regroup and realize the force for change lies among us,” said Cole Dorsey, IWW Organizer and an organizer for the event.  “We want people to leave the May Day event informed and energized to take action that will benefit everyone in the working class.”

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is a rank-and-file labor union open to all workers. During MayDay 2010,  Grand Rapids IWW will announce plans for future organizing efforts and a local economic justice campaign.

MayDay 2010 also celebrates the memory of the Haymarket Martyrs, eight labor activists framed for an explosion in Haymarket Square, Chicago, where striking workers were assembling. After a trial riddled with lies and contradictions, all eight were found guilty of the bombing. The Haymarket trial is still regarded today as one of the most grossly unjust trials in US history.

The celebration begins at 10 a.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Grand Rapids. Events include a community potluck from 11a.m. to 1 p.m.  and a Really, Really Free Market, where people give and take items at no cost, from 2 to 4 p.m. Live music performances will include many genres including solo, rock, hip-hop and electronic.

The local group Stop Targeting Our Kids (STOK) will offer fun kids’ activities such as face painting, puppets, coloring and a quiet puzzle place.  Speakers and resources will be available on issues such as home foreclosures, immigrant rights, workplace organizing and more.

Co-sponsors of MayDay 2010 include Grand Rapids Hip Hop Coalition, The Bloom Collective, League of Revolutionaries for a New America, STOK, Workers Solidarity Alliance, Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy (GRIID), Lansing Workers Center, Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO), United States Social Forum (USSF), and the Grand Rapids IWW.

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