Rallies held for labor issues, protection for undocumented immig - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Rallies held for labor issues, protection for undocumented immigrants

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Rallies all over the world kicked off May Day, otherwise known as International Workers' Day.

People are calling on state legislators for action on labor issues and better protection for undocumented immigrants.

In western Massachusetts, there were rallies in Amherst and Northampton.

As a nation we've come a long way when it comes to labor laws and immigrant's rights, but demonstrators said more needs to be done, so they took to the streets and plan to take their demands to Beacon Hill.
A group of 25 people from the Pioneer Valley met outside of the town hall in Amherst Tuesday morning before making the trip to the State House in Boston.

Although the senate wasn't in session Tuesday, they hope to speak with lawmakers before they go back in session Thursday.

There are three amendments advocates want to see passed, including ensuring that law enforcement does not ask about immigration status in routine encounters unless required by law.
"It's called the Safe Communities Act because it is seeking to improve the safety of our communities. Local police's first obligation is to the people, they should not be serving out the functions of ICE," said Amherst College student Ben Gilsdorf. 
After the trip to Boston, many of them came back to western Massachusetts this time gathering in Northampton where a sea of people took over the steps of city hall.

Lead organizer of the Pioneer Valley Workers Center Diana Sierra said they're teaming up with unions and Mayor David Narkewicz.

Together they announced a list of demands including calling upon congress to create pathway to citizenship for all immigrants and urging state legislators to pass the Safe Communities Act.

Sierra, who was an undocumented immigrant herself for about 20 years, said she wants to stand in solidarity with those fighting to have a better future for themselves and their children
"To make decision to come to country is huge. It means life or death decision of crossing border where you can die. People are fleeing real violence," said Sierra. 
It's a fight that many in the crowd said they're not giving up any time soon.
"My parents are protected under TPS, under 18 months we'll be undocumented. It affects my family. I don't want to be separated from my family," said Catherine Paredes-Amaya. 
After the rally, many gathered at the Haymarket Café until midnight to celebrate a successful day of rallying.

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