Paulina Lopez (18), Ileane Muñoz (17), and Tatiana Saavedra (18)
Franklin Pierce High School, Tacoma
What made you decide to come up to Seattle today?
Tatiana: I came out for the Martin Luther King one at Garfield High School and I liked it so I was on Facebook and I saw this event, and I was like, oh, I'm going to go. And I asked them to come with me.
Ileane: We all have the same ideals and views.
Paulina: I participated in one or two at our school, and when I did it, it made me feel really good. I wanted to come here even though I'm really sick right now. But I want to be here.
Which issues are you most passionate about?
Paulina, Ileane, Tatiana: Immigration.
Are these issues affecting your families personally?
Paulina: Yeah. It's affecting my future. I want to get my education, but I can't go if I have that right taken away from me.
Tatiana: We try to do work for our communities through Latino Club at our school.
Have any students in Latino club expressed fear over policies enacted by the Trump administration?
Tatiana: After he got elected, a lot of people started expressing their racist views. We had to have a meeting on how to protect ourselves and stuff.
So kids at school were saying openly racist things?
Tatiana: Yeah, even though we're a pretty diverse school and we're in a poor neighborhood and they should understand.
What kinds of things are you doing to try and make change?
Tatiana: We're just trying to advocate our Latino Club throughout school. [The school] mostly just focuses on sports.
The racism you've experienced at school—do you think it's getting better or getting worse?
Ileane: The people in our school always thought it was funny and OK, because "I have a Mexican friend" or "I have a black friend." It's annoying. Teachers really don't call you on it. They just send you to a detention room and that's it.
How would you want your school to address it?
Tatiana: Advocate for us and publicly say that it's not OK.
YAMILETH DIAZ, 26
Why was it important for you to come out today?
As a first generation immigrant, it was important for me to be present because I feel that now is the time—as immigrants and as members of the Latino community—for us to rise up along with our allies to show solidarity for the immigrant struggle.
Have you participated in May Day before?
I haven't. This is my first time.
What made you come out this year, as opposed to years past?
I first participated in the Women's March, and I saw what good vibes that was. And I also have many friends who have been encouraging me, mainly white friends. And I said, you know what, if they are taking the time, going through the struggle of marching for me, I have to join in. I feel it's time that we also put in that kind of work for this cause that is about us, as well as our brothers and sisters.
Was there any fear of this march because of increased deportations under Trump?
I don't sense fear, but it could be my naiveté. ICE raids haven't been something I've experienced. But within the community, there's always fears and there's always people saying that it's happening. But coming out for something like this, where there's so much solidarity, I did not feel fear.
What are you looking forward to most today?
Today I'm looking forward to marching through Seattle and meeting with everyone at the Seattle Center and seeing how many people actually come out. Before people try to come out with violence, it's good to see how much peace can be brought to the community as well.
What do you think of that element that tends to take place on May Day, too, the window-breaking and stuff?
I think that is disruptive to the majority of the causes because we know that it's only one group that really comes out with that action whilst everyone else is working for a peaceful demonstration.
NIKKO FRANCISCO, 24
What made you decide to come out this year?
I came out here with Anakbayan and Gabriela Seattle. We're part of Bayan Pacific Northwest, an alliance of different progressive Filipino organizations. We're really out here to show support during international workers' day particularly for the Filipino community. We've seen huge droves of our own people immigrating from the Philippines to here, the United States. There are about 6,000 of us who leave every day. And we recognize that situation is not a natural thing, it's man-made. There are different things in the Philippines—mainly the poverty, the economics—that push our folks out. There are things like the labor export program policy, which really encourages, instead of providing for jobs for Filipinos in the Philippines, it pushes Filipinos out to seek different jobs here. But while they're out here or in any other country, there's no protection for our citizens.
We don't want to see funding go to US wars of interruption or any sort of foreign intervention, like Syria. We want to see funding go to social services and healthcare and things that are actually needed.
Have you come across any fear in coming out to march this year because of policies targeting immigrants under the Trump administration?
I think the fear is valid, but at least for us, we have to push past that for our communities. We have to recognize that we need to defend our communities from the Trump administration. So we can't afford to have our fear grip us.
SPENCER COX, 30
Tell me about your sign and why you're here today.
We're here because tech can do better. We're here standing in solidarity with SIS security guards on Amazon's campus and there's a strong set of practices around Islamophobia, not allowing them the appropriate time to pray, around Ramadan, having discriminatory practices against those workers. And we think that Amazon, as the primary employers, should do a better job of advocating for those workers. And immigrant rights are workers' rights, which is why we're here. There's a large element that's trying to divide based on nationality, migration patterns, race, particularly with Trump. And we think that tech workers are beginning to stand up and recognize our power to say that we can stand against that kind of divide-and-conquer policy.
You work in tech?
I worked in warehouses. I think warehouses are tech and right now there's a huge divide in wealth between what's considered to be "tech" jobs and programming and those that actually do a lot of the work in warehousing, e-commerce related work. And they don't have the same rights. They don't have the same conditions. They're often working in really bad conditions and that also seems like it tries to divide and conquer people.
Nevertheless it seems like a lot of technocrats are patting themselves on the back for coming up with a vision of the future that's better than the one we have now. What would you say if you could sit down with Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Travis Kalanick of Uber?
I think right now there's a huge push in tech, and right now workers are starting to recognize that they have a big part in producing the future they want to work in. And right now, working in tech is hard. There are 80-hour weeks. It's an individually competitive workplace, and tech workers can have a big stand in forcing that conversation with those elites and with those technocrats to make sure that automation and technology actually benefit the 99 percent instead of making Jeff Bezos one of the richest people in the world.
Have you seen other tech people here at the march?
There's going to be a larger amount of tech workers. I think tech workers are beginning to get more active in politics.
PEDRO ESPINOZA, 42
Regional Council of Carpenters
Why was it important for you to come out today?
It's important for us as labor unions to come out and express that May Day is the origins of where labor unions began. I think people are getting distracted by other events happening across the country, but we feel that labor is the backbone of this country, and we need to defend that. Labor Day was a distraction caused by government and big corporations to move it from May Day. May Day was the origins of how the labor union movement started because of the eight-hour workday and the weekend. They were trying to fight for the workers to get that. We're here to represent labor and we're an organization that stands for the people.
How do you feel about the future of labor rights under the Trump administration?
They're under constant threat. I think that because Trump is attacking labor unions and he wants to make labor cheap—he says that he'll bring back work to the American people, but in what sense? Cheaper labor is not what we want. If you want to make this country moves forward, then you have to make sure the workers are treated right, that the workers have safe conditions to work in, and that the workers are better paid so they can live and progress in this country.
How many times have you done May Day before in Seattle?
We try as an organization to join in but most of the time it's taken over by the anarchist groups so it kind of puts a shadow on the real meaning of it. This is the real event that we come out and show support.
Are you also marching for immigrant rights?
Yes, because that includes part of labor.
Have Trump policies affected you personally?
Yes, they are. There are a lot of people out in the workforce right now who are scared for their lives. Immigration reform: Is it good for people below or is it benefiting those at the top? If you look at the people at the top, they're the ones that employ half the immigrants to clean their houses, take care of their children, do whatever they need to do, but they cover that up. And everyone it affects below, the working class is the one getting rammed with all these policies. Workers don't want to come out and speak against it because they're afraid they're going to get deported.
These interviews have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.