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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Over 2000 attend May Day Light of Hope in Salem

Participants celebrate working families and focus on driver’s license access, living wage jobs, healthcare, education and legalization for all immigrants

Salem, Ore.-- On Tuesday, immigrants, labor union members, students, members of LGBT communities, women, Latinos, and allies gathered in Salem for a march and rally with community leaders and elected officials. The event, titled The Light of Hope, featured hundreds of lanterns signifying the hope for a more just and equitable state for all Oregonians. Following the rally, participants marched with these "lights of hope" lanterns through Salem’s downtown.

Speakers included leaders from organized labor, civil rights and community organizations and elected officials including Secretary of State Kate Brown, Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, State Representative Michael Dembrow, State Representative Tina Kotek , State Representative Lew Frederick, and a representative from Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen’s office, Policy Advisor Guillermo A. Maciel.

A special message from Governor John Kitzhaber about driver’s license access restoration for all Oregon Residents was also delivered by Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian. The Governor’s message came with the support of elected representatives, members of the business, law enforcement, labor, faith, immigrant and civil rights community. To read a full transcript of the Governor’s message, link here.

In addition to Driver's License Restoration, other issues of focus for May 1st included jobs with living wages, educational opportunities from pre-k to college, and access to health care services for ALL Oregon residents, and a path towards legalization for all immigrants.

“The energy at the State Capitol is very positive and moving”, said Francisco Lopez, Executive Director of Causa Oregon. “People are demanding change and are holding our elected leaders accountable.”

Asked about the message from the Governor on Driver’s License Access, Lopez added “Right now people can’t get to work, to school or to the doctor. We welcome the Governor’s announcement. People who have the ability to work need to be able to drive. They are helping to keep Oregon’s economy going."

After the march, participants met back on the steps of the Capitol for the signing of the “Light of Hope” Agreement. Organizations and individuals signing the agreement pledged to work united on Driver’s License Access Restoration, Jobs with Living Wages and a Path to Citizenship for all Immigrants. Those signing included Causa Oregon, Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA), Oregon AFL-CIO, Marion-Polk Move to Amend, Basic Rights Oregon, Mano a Mano Family Foundation, Voz Hispana, Latinos Unidos Siempre, Capaces Leadership Institute (CLI), PCUN, Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality, Adelante Mujeres, Oregon PeaceWorks, State Representative Michael Dembrow, others

The event was sponsored by Causa Oregon, PCUN, Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA), Oregon AFL-CIO, Voz Hispana Causa Chavista, Marion-Polk Move To Amend, Working America, Willamette University Causa Chapter, and others.

Local and Nationwide Coverage
Northwest Rallies On May Day (NPR-OPB)
Salem May Day Rally (The Oregonian)
May Day ralliers seek change (Salem Statesman Journal)
Madras May Day Rally Cheers ID Decision (KTVZ-Bend)


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