May Day Flu

Community Organizing Organizer Training Protests

New Orleans In recent weeks organizers and advocates have been calling for a mass showing of support for immigration reform in cities around the country by hitting the streets for solidarity on May Day. The hope was to put some wind in the sails of immigration reform as the movement prepares to hear Obama deliver on his promises of a speech and then summit in late May and early June.

Now though organizers are in a frenzy of concern on whether to tamp down the numbers or even call off May Day activities where there are large Mexicano populations because of the swine flu epidemic and real health concerns. Of all of the organizer training sessions and role plays for campaign strategy and tactical planning, I cannot think of any occasion in which an organizer was ever asked to make decisions whether to march or not march based on public health concerns for thousands of the participants.

There’s only one May Day and it is met with marching feet around the globe, so simply postponing is unlikely at this point. On the other hand any illness or, god save us, deaths, that might be attributable to the marches would be worldwide news in a way that any numbers, no matter how strong, could never erase.

Tough call! How would you make it?

Mayday Flu