Miss Major/Jay Toole Building Post Statement: May Day 2012
Union Square, NY – On May 1st, 2012, organizations of the Miss Major/Jay Toole Building on West 24th Street, the Audre Lorde Project, FIERCE, Queers for Economic Justice, Streetwise and Safe, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, came together to commemorate May Day, or International Labor Day. Under the banner of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Trans, Gender Non-Conforming and Queer (LGBTSTGNCQ) Communities for Immigrant and Workers’ Rights, the contingent was historic in being the first of its kind in New York City bringing visibility to the intersections of LGBTSTGNCQ immigrants, undocumented people, people in detention, people of color and low-wage workers.
On May Day, over 150 individuals mobilized for the LGBTSTGNCQ contingent. We were supported by our own security team and legal observers. We led the contingent, as well as neighboring contingents, in chants that reflected the LGBTSTGNCQ community’s experiences, while bystanders cheered us on throughout the route.
ALP, FIERCE, QEJ, SAS, and SRLP’s main goal for mobilizing was to express our commitment to solidarity, support, and visibility for immigrants, undocumented people, people in detention, people of color and low-wage workers. Our organizations have prioritized work within our communities and with individuals that are living at the intersections of heightened policing, violence and oppression. We believe that a true immigrant and worker rights movement will not be successful unless immigrants, undocumented people, people in detention, people of color and low-wage workers are leading the way.
We believe that every person deserves the right to feel safe, and to work and live in an environment free of profiling regardless of our various identities. Current systems of policing, surveillance, and immigration enforcement utilize racist, homophobic, transphobic, classist, and ableist tactics continue to target communities perceived as threats to the maintenance of race and class hierarchy in the United States. Last October national, state and local LGBTQ groups from across the country, including our organizations, marked National Coming Out Day by coming out against the Secure Communities Program (S-Comm) and other initiatives which promote collaboration between local law enforcement and immigration authorities. These programs further endanger our communities.
On May Day, the call to End S-Comm was renewed by LGBTQ groups across the country. Despite President Obama’s announcement in support of same-sex marriage, it does not overshadow the impact of the Federal Government’s forced implementation of S-Comm in New York. We continue to resist efforts to utilize mainstream and strategic gay rights platforms to obscure policing initiatives that police LGBTSTGNCQ immigrants, undocumented people, people in detention, people of color and low-wage workers. We call on the Mayor, City Council, and the NYPD to take a principled position in the name of community safety and immediately delay implementation of the S-Comm program.
Our community expresses our commitment to the unified struggle against the multi-layered oppression that targets marginalized and excluded immigrant communities, including LGBTSTGNCQ immigrants. We call on all of you to join us, because our connected movements become stronger together with each and every one of us!
Audre Lorde Project
Queers for Economic Justice
Streetwise and Safe
Sylvia Rivera Law Project