Festival to Highlight Worker/Human Rights & Unity

Utica, New York:  Central New York Citizen Action and other labor, faith-based,  and community groups will sponsor the Fourth Annual May Day Festival to commemorate past human and labor rights victories and continue the struggle for social justice for workers, the elderly and disabled, immigrants, LGBTQ, and people of color. It will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1 at the DeSales Center, 309 Genesee Street, Utica. The event is open and free to the public.

The May Day Festival will feature food, music, dancing, speakers, and opportunities for activism. There will be a Maypole for dancing. Soul food will be provided by Theresa Weston. Among the speakers will be labor activist Bill Perrotta and community leader Jen DeWeerth. Performers will include Gospel Duet Ashley Engram and Deonasia Abel, rappers Tay Flacko and Cash Cobain, J. Schnitt, and Steven Zacaroli. Additional speakers and performers will be announced later this week.  Persons will be able to be part of a Twitter and Facebook storm to express their support for housing justice and other issues. Prizes will be given out for a contest regarding events in the history of the labor, civil rights, and social justice movement.  Organizers are urging people to bring a dish to share the cultural and ethnic diversity of our community.

The DeSales Center is across the street from the Munson-Williams Proctor Institute in Downtown Utica. Parking is available next to the building. For more information, contact John Furman at 315-725-0974 or emailcnycitizenaction@gmail.com. Volunteers are needed for the event and artists are urged to share works highlighting social and economic justice.

Celebrated in 66 nations, May Day (also known as International Workers’ Day) is deeply rooted in the American union movement – specifically the struggle during the late 1800s for an 8-hour workday. It is a holiday that celebrates the achievements of the international labor movement and the struggle for human rights.

John Furman of Citizen Action stated: “On May Day, when ordinary workers around the world celebrate their solidarity and achievements, in our present political climate, it is important we re-assert the need for union rights and workers’ protection. We must oppose policies that hurt ordinary people like cutting Social Security, pensions, housing, and food assistance, and health care, not fully funding public schools and giving big tax breaks to the 1%.  We understand how racism and fear can be used to cause divisions among working people to benefit those in power.   We stand with workers around the world and oppose those who seek to divide us by skin color, nationality, religion, gender, or ethnic background. This year’s May Day message is:  We win when we stand together.”

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