Not long after Aline Mello, a 28-year-old Brazilian immigrant and Dreamer, arrived at Atlanta's City Hall for Monday’s May Day rally for immigrants, she texted her mom a photo of herself, huddling under a pink umbrella and holding up a sign saying, “We are HUMANS.”
“She didn’t want me to come,” she said of her mother, who was at work cleaning houses. “She’s scared. Many older immigrants just keep their heads down, but we want to make our voices heard.”
“We grew up here,” said her friend, Diana Chavez, as she nodded, an immigrant from Mexico who moved to the U.S. in 2000. “We belong here. It’s important to let people know we’re part of this nation and we work hard and pay taxes."
Cars replaced protesters by rush hour Monday as downtown L.A.'s May Day march came to a conclusion with all but a few stragglers left on the grounds of City Hall.
About 15,000 people marched from MacArthur Park to Grand Park, next to City Hall, in support of labor and immigration causes. Nearby, outside the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, a vocal group of counter-protesters demonstrated in support of President Trump.
After hours of verbal exchanges, the Trump supporters walked off toward the federal building with a small group of anti-fascist activists following and LAPD officers closely watching. But no conflict unfolded and the May Day activities ended with only two arrests.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was scheduled to speak to thousands of May Day demonstrators outside City Hall on Monday afternoon.
Before his speech however, his office released this statement:
"We stand together today to send a very clear and strong message that Los Angeles will stand up against any attempt to scapegoat immigrants, break up families, and create a climate of fear that unsettles our communities and disrupts our economy," the mayor said.
At the corner of Spring and 1st streets, about 150 President Trump supporters and self-described nationalists faced off with several hundred May Day protesters, exchanging insults as a line of helmeted LAPD officers kept them apart.
Holding signs that said said "Latinos for Trump," and "ICE ICE baby and "Deport illegals," the Trump supporters shouted "America First."
"We have the right to speak our minds," an African American man with a U.S. flag yelled into a megaphone. "I have the right to protect my family. You cannot take away my guns."