Hundreds of people took to the streets of Mountain View on Monday evening to denounce a federal crackdown on undocumented immigrants. The annual May Day march this year held a particular urgency and drew one of its largest crowd based on fears that President Donald Trump's administration represents a grave threat to local families and the community.
Speaker after speaker at the event pledged that Mountain View would resist federal immigration enforcement, as well as an upwelling of bigotry and xenophobia being ushered in by the new administration.
“It's a sad day when the local government has to proclaim our resistance to our federal government, but here we are," said Mountain View Mayor Ken Rosenberg. "In Mountain View, we recognize and celebrate the benefits of our diversity."
Now in its sixth year, the Mountain View Peace March and Rally for a Just Immigration Reform and Dignity for All Immigrants (commonly shortened to “May Day march”) has always had a political edge. In past years, the event focused primarily on pushing for immigration reform and legal protections for the 11 million undocumented people living in the United States.
As in past years, May Day participants on Monday started at Rengstorff Park and marched along El Camino Real to hold a rally near City Hall in downtown Mountain View.
This year's event centered less on the need for reform and more on protecting what exists. Many spoke about how local families are living under constant fear that they could be targeted for deportation if Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents target Mountain View. Police Chief Max Bosel gave assurances that local law enforcement would not comply with federal civil immigration policies.
Mountain View's event was just one of many May Day rallies held throughout the Bay Area on Monday. Tens of thousands of people reportedly participated in similar rallies in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. In the days ahead of the event, Google company officials announced they would allow employees and subcontracted workers to participate in May Day rallies.
Asking everyone to join hands, retired Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge LaDoris Cordell reminded participants that they were not alone.
“If you remember nothing else, remember that you are surrounded by a community that will rise up and protect you,” she said. “The Constitution protects each and every one of us.”
Many speakers pointed to Trump's immigration polices as just one reason they were compelled to protest. They also cited federal attempts to pass a travel ban against six Muslim countries and recent efforts to reverse the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, among their reasons.
“We're here in this city and not going anywhere,” said Marilu Delgado, a May Day march organizer. “We're part of Mountain View.”