Around 50 people rallied today at Vance Monument in to mark International Worker’s Day. Press release follows photos.
FOR RELEASE TO THE MEDIA AFTER APRIL 21
Organizers Plan May Day Rally for May 1st
Asheville, NC—Employees from around the Asheville-Buncombe area will honor International Workers’ Day on May 1 here in Asheville with a rally, speeches and moving picket to City Hall. The rally begins at 4 p.m. at the Vance Monument, downtown Asheville. The moving picket will end at the Pack Memorial Library where organizers will facilitate a collaborative conversation on labor and workers rights within our community.
The rally and march is in part an act of solidarity. Workers of 80 different countries celebrate the day every year to commemorate the Haymarket affair of 1886 in Chicago. Local workers have remembered May Day with rallies for at least the last couple of years.
“We organized this because all of us involved feel very strongly about issues that affect working folks,” said Asheville resident, Dana Oglesby. “We realize the struggles that people in our community face are the same as those faced by workers everywhere because of economic injustice and disempowerment.”
Workers from Nepal to Iceland celebrate International Workers’ Day, or May Day, on or around May 1 every year to remember the history of workers’ struggle around the world. The day commemorates those who have fought for the things we take for granted today: A minimum wage, a 40-hour week, unemployment, insurance and the National Labor Relations Board.
The day is also a time to reflect on how much further we have to go. Workers still fight against abusive bosses, low pay, job insecurity and alienation. These problems are often amplified for undocumented workers, and we here in the Asheville and Buncombe area often excuse those problems for the “good” of our local businesses. International Workers’ Day has become a symbol for worker empowerment through international solidarity, and organizers of this year’s event hope to reach out to all communities who deserve better jobs, better pay and greater control over their own lives.
“We understand that rallies and pickets alone will not create the political change and economic justice we need,” said Dominic DeRose, a student at Warren-Wilson. “We must implement a diversity of tactics to create necessary change,” he added.
“To that end, our plans include a meeting in the Lord Auditorium in the basement of Pack Memorial Library with the intention to join local community members and workers together to plan for a better future.”
Participants this year will include representatives from Just Economics, the Asheville Homeless Network, the Industrial Workers of the World, Freedom Road, Earth First and the International Socialist Organization.
Organizers of this year’s event are not the same organizers of the May Day event that happened in 2010, which local authorities associated with acts of vandalism around Grove Arcade that same evening.
For more information, please feel free to contact Dana Oglesby at firstname.lastname@example.org; Dominic DeRose at email@example.com;
Thad Eckard at 828-381-5919 or John Spitzberg at 828-230-6902.