On May 1, more than 80 immigrant workers, students, families, and community allies came together in Milbridge for a march and rally as part of the national “Day Without Immigrants” to support and celebrate immigrant and Latino communities. Despite the wind and freezing rain, participants gathered at Mano en Mano’s office and walked as a group with flags and banners to Bayside Supermarket in downtown Milbridge. There, community leaders from Nuestra Voz en la Comunidad led chants and read declarations about the important role immigrants play in enriching our communities. The group also danced to Latin music sounding from portable speakers, celebrating the vibrancy of latino cultures.
Across the country, immigrants chose to not go to work, not go to school, not to buy anything, and to demonstrate, march, and celebrate the contributions of the immigrant community in the United States. In Milbridge, individuals participated on different levels while maintaining that the ultimate goal of “A Day Without Immigrants” was to stand in solidarity with a nonviolent movement fighting for the permanent protection, dignity, and respect of all immigrants in the United States.
Milbridge’s celebration was organized by Nuestra Voz en la Comunidad after a meeting with organizers from the immigrant advocacy group Movimiento Cosecha on April 15th. Around 50 community members attended the workshop facilitated by Cosecha organizers along with Mano en Mano staff. The training included information about the Cosecha principles, strategy, and vision as well as an overview of the historical and political context of immigration discourse. After this meeting, Nuestra Voz en la Comunidad and allies continued to meet to talk about what “A Day Without Immigrants” would look like in our small, rural community.
After the rally on May 1, the group met at Mano en Mano to share a community potluck. After dinner, Nuestra Voz en la Comunidad leaders facilitated a conversation of individual reactions to the event. One ally wholeheartedly thanked the immigrant community for the warmth and liveliness they bring to Milbridge. Several Latino community members also expressed how supported they felt through the May 1 action. One community member remarked that “A Day Without Immigrants” was “only the first step of many more.”
Take a look at photos and livestreams from the event below and check out this article in the Ellsworth American for more photos and quotes from community members.