The theme for today’s May Day Strike in Santa Ana was ” Driver’s licences for all”. However, many issues brought more than 200 people show up to Sasser Park, from which they marched through downtown Santa Ana. The crowd consisted of members from Occupy Santa Ana, Chicanos Unidos, Occupy OC United, and the May Day Coalition, as well as individuals who wanted to show their support.
Carolyn Torres from the May Day Coalition gave a compelling speech that California schools are in a state of emergency because of budget cuts. She compared the crisis to a major earthquake that required swift action, but California politcians decided to put more money into prisons and prison staff. Earthquakes are a natural disaster and California’s money problems are a man made disaster. “It’s not a budget issue, it’s an allocation issue. If California has a major earthquake there is always money to fix the problem. Our leaders need to stop giving money to the prisons and allocate those dollars to our hurting education system.”
The crowd consisted of many different people so I decided to find out why they decided to attend. Pat Goodman came to show her support for labor and justice. She is now retired but she believes that she benefitted from Affirmative Action when she was in the work force.
Another woman, who asked to remain anonymous said she works with the May Day Coalition in Santa Ana to change the law about driver’s licenses. Since, I really don’t know about the driver’s license issue I asked her to explain it to me.
Apparently in the past there were traffic stops set up to catch drunk drivers but what ended up happening is that Hispanic people who were caught driving without a license got their cars impounded and the fees were so high they could not afford to get their vehicle out, so those vehicles ended up at the auction yard. This was a clear violation of the 4th Amendment and Article 9 thats prevents government from arbitrarily taking property.
Members from Central Cultural de Mexico were successful to get that law changed, so now drivers that are stopped by police who do not have licenses have 20 minutes to find someone to pick up their vehicle. I guess the person who came up with the 20 minute time limit has never experienced Southern California traffic. There are plenty of times it takes me 20 minutes to go just 2 miles on I-5!
Government officiasl also offered to issue special licenses for undocumented persons, but Central Cultural de Mexico argued that licenses are a human rights issue. People that are undocumented will be afraid to come forward fearing that they could be deported. Allowing everyone to get a driver’s license without asking for immigration staus is a win win for everyone. Everyone driving would have to have insurance, and pass a driver’s test. That would mean more revenue for the state and if someone got into an accident they wouldn’t run away from the scene because they feared deportation.
Another woman who chose to remain anonymous (I guess alot of people didn’t want their boss to find out why they called in sick today) was there to support the LGBT community, and equality in the workplace as well as marriage. “They are definitely part of the 99%” she said.
One woman took 2 buses to come from the city of Orange after she heard on one of the local news stations there was a May Day event in Santa Ana. Many May Day events took place today around the world and I heard that some ended up clashing with police. I think the event in Santa Ana was informative and well run. There was an air of celebration from indigenous dancers dressed in native costumes to impassioned speakers hoping to create awareness for human rights, as well as more money for public education.