Get ready for May Day ruckus and revelry


May 1 marks International Workers Day, so naturally Bay Area activists are gearing up for a host of marches, rallies, and celebrations. The weather forecast predicts sunny skies with a high of 78 degrees – expect them to come out in droves. Here’s your rundown of May Day festivities.

Immigrants march in SF

Representing just about every corner of the globe, the San Francisco Bay Coalition for Immigrant Justice has organized a May Day rally to call for stronger federal immigration reform. The federal bill unveiled a couple weeks ago, which created an excessively long and complicated path to citizenship, drew criticism from local advocates. They welcomed it as an important first step toward reform but called for stronger provisions on a family-based unification program, an end to deportations, and greater protections for workers' rights. 

Expect chants in Cantonese, Spanish, Tagalog, and English. And watch for a flock of oversized cardboard monarch butterflies. According to a coalition announcement, those migratory creatures “have come to symbolize the dignity of the migrant experience.” 

March begins at 24th and Mission, SF, 3pm. Rally begins at Civic Center, 5pm.


Celebration of resistance and solidarity

After the May Day marches and rallies have come to an end, head over to the Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics at 518 Valencia, in the Mission, for a celebration of international worker solidarity. Featuring a theater performance on the history of May Day by the Shaping SF Players, live screen printing, Cumbia beats, Aztec dance, protest art, sangria, and beer.

518 Valencia, SF. 3-8pm.

Screening of Dreamwork China

LaborFest, which holds a labor film festival every July to commemorate the San Francisco General Strike of 1934, will host a screening of Dreamwork China, a film portraying the lives of tech workers in Chinese factories, including workers who produce Apple products.

ILWU Local 34, 800 2nd St., SF. 7pm.

Oaklanders without borders

Across the bay, a celebration and commemoration of International Workers Day and Immigrants Rights will take place in Oakland under the banner Sin Fronteras (that's español for “Without Borders”). The march, “to demand just policies and conditions for im/migrants and workers,” will begin at the Fruitvale BART plaza and end with a rally at Josie de la Cruz Park.

Fruitvale BART, Oakl. 3pm. 

The fight for $15

East Bay organizers with the plan to throw a “May Day noise demo” to call for a livable wage of $15 an hour, following the example set by fast-food workers who recently staged strikes in New York and Chicago calling for a higher wage standard.

14th and Broadway, Oakl. 5pm.

March on Facebook headquarters

Mark Zuckerberg, whose political group is pushing for comprehensive immigration reform, may seem to be an unlikely target for a day so focused on immigrant rights. Nevertheless, the Facebook CEO and his group have pissed off a different segment of Bay Area activists for funding television ads featuring Keystone XL pipeline supporter Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican. While not specifically billed as a May Day protest, environmentalists affiliated with Credo Action, Friends of the Earth, Idle no More, and others are planning to march on Facebook headquarters Wednesday morning.

Facebook Headquarters, 1401 Willow Rd, Menlo Park. 11:45am-1:45pm.