- Joeff Davis
- Human rights, immigrant and union groups converged on the Gold Dome for annual rally
Police estimated as many as 300 people turned out at the Gold Dome today for the annual May Day International Day of the Worker demonstration. This year's event featured speeches by members of the human rights, immigrant and union communities discussing how each groups' issues were often connected.
Georgia Rep. Pedro Marin, D-Duluth, who sponsored a bill last legislative session that would have repealed the Peach State's harsh immigrant law, told CL
that he hoped the rally would send a message to “anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-union" lawmakers. Because of these lawmakers, Marin said, Georgia was becoming known as a “hateful state.”
Adelina Nicholls, Executive Director of Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, or GLAHR, said that the most important issue facing the undocumented immigrant community today was “Secure Communities,” a deportation program implemented under President Barack Obama's administration. She says the controversial program has led to undocumented Georgians being detained and ultimately deported after they are pulled over for minor traffic violations. She said that GLAHR has received reports from around the state that people have been stopped while running simple errands and imprisoned and taken out of the country when they could not produce a valid driver's license. This is causing much fear in the undocumented community, Nicholls said.
This year’s May Day rally was the smallest in the last few years. Organizers pointed to the fact that May 1 fell on a Tuesday this year, when many people were working, and also to many immigrants' fear of appearing at public protests.