International Workers Day Celebrated at SMU in Dallas

Dr Joerg Rieger at SMU

Rev. Dr. Joerg Rieger, Glenn Johnson, Roberto Corona, and Soli Mercado Spencer


Dallas celebrated International Workers day, May 1, with a small gathering on the campus of Southern Methodist University. Organizers said it was likely the first Mayday celebration on that campus ever, and one of very few in North Texas since 1886, when demonstrations for the 8-hour day were held all over the world -- Texas not excepted.

Glenn Johnson, a graduate student in theology and an associate of the Workers Defense Project, organized the event and brought in speakers who told about the historical importance of Mayday, its relationship to progressive religion, and its relationship to ongoing struggles today. North Texas Jobs with Justice and the Embrey Human Rights Project of SMU co-sponsored. A short video is at

Soli Mercado Spencer gave the historical background for the celebration and talked about how important it is in her native Puerto Rico and around the world, even though it has been neglected in the United States. Rev. Dr. Joerg Rieger said that progressive religious leaders joined in the celebration because they realize that workers' rights is the very heart of Christ's message.

Rosemarie RiegerRosemarie Rieger spoke for Jobs with Justice. Her presentation outlined the critical nature of today's attacks against workers. She stressed the importance of joining together in the fight.

Gene Lantz talked about two important African American Texas women associated with Mayday. Jane Elkins was hanged in Dallas in late May, 1853 for having killed a slave owner. She was our first feminist. Lucy Parsons, born that same year not far from Dallas, was a leader of the 8-hour day movement and the wife of one of the martyrs. It was claimed that she singlehandedly kept the memory of the 8-hour struggle alive over the decades after her husband's execution. The first verse of the "8-hour" song was sung.


Roberto CoronaThe group was not content to gaze at the past, but looked to the future with two important reports. Robert Corona gave a Power Point presentation on the horrors of the road north from Central America and Mexico. He urged everyone to attend upcoming immigration marches.


John Beret of UFCW

John Beret spoke for the Our Walmart organizing drive and encouraged everyone to get behind the most important organizing effort in America today.

The evening ended with a strong chorus of "Solidarity Forever!"

Other Texas events associated with Mayday, the Mexican Cinco de Mayo holiday, and the struggle for immigration reform have been listed by the Texas AFL-CIO:


May 1 - Brownsville, TX
Vigil for Immigration Reform
5:00pm at Intersection of Boca Chica Blvd. & International Blvd.
Contact: Dina Nunez, MDVDH
 [email protected], 956-465-6872

May 1 - San Antonio, TX
March & Assembly for Just Immigration Reform
 Meet 5:30pm at Plaza del Zacate/Milam Park in San Antonio
March to Southwest Workers Union
Contact: Joaquin Abrego, Soutwest Workers Union [email protected], 210-413-8978

May 1 - Dallas, TX
Phone Bank for Immigration Reform
6pm-8pm at 1005 West Jefferson Boulevard #300 in Dallas
Contact: Danny Cendejas, TOP
[email protected], 214-810-4636

May 1 - Houston, TX
Vigil for Dignity
6pm at Guadalupe Plaza
333 Jensen in Houston (77003)
Contact: Alejandro Zuniga, Houston United, 832-646-0285

May 3 - San Juan, TX
Informational Townhall Meeting Hosted by LUPE
 6:30pm at Corner of Cesar Chavez Rd and Business 83
Contact: John Michael Torres,LUPE
[email protected], 956-534-0267

May 4 - Houston, TX
March & Rally for Unity
Meet at 4:00pm at Bellaire Blvd. & Renwick Dr.
End at Burnett Bayland Park, 6000 Chimney Rock Rd. in Houston
Contact: Jannell Robles, Houston United, 832-816-1620

May 5 - Austin, TX
5 de Mayo March for Immigration Reform
 Meet at 12:30pm at South Gates of Capitol (11th and Congress)
March to Federal Building (300 E. 8th Street)
Contact: Esther Reyes, AIRC, [email protected], 512-476-2472

May 5 - Progresso, TX
Vigil for Immigration Reform
 1:00pm at Military Hwy & Farm Market Rd 1015 in Progreso
Contact: Dina Nunez, MDVDH
[email protected], 956-465-6872

Week of April 29-May 5
Community Forums on Immigration Reform
Fourteen scheduled throughout the El Paso and borderland region
Contact: Cristina Parker, BNHR, [email protected], 915-875-9107




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