Union activists, socialists, and members of other progressive groups gathered at the Ohio Statehouse on May 1 to agitate for “justice” and against “corporate greed” in commemoration of May Day, an international Marxist celebration of worker solidarity. After a rally keynoted by a self-described illegal immigrant, attendees marched around Capitol Square chanting tried-and-true slogans such as “no justice, no peace,” along with the more localized “[Governor] Kasich is a jerk.”
Roughly 55 protesters congregated on the sidewalk outside the Statehouses West Plaza to call for, among other things, the release of all imprisoned criminals, universal amnesty for illegal immigrants, and expanded access to abortion.
Staffers from the Ohio AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) organized and attended the event, providing signs and makeshift musical instruments for attendees.
Union interns worked to oversee the rally, ensuring that protesters did not block foot traffic on the sidewalks and serving as liaisons between their fellow progressive activists and the 3 Columbus Police Department (CPD) officers who were monitoring the event.
Jamal Gilcrease from Ohio Fair Food a local union affiliate of the Florida-based Coalition of Immokale Workers (CIW), addressed rally attendees first, talking about the need for universal human rights for all individuals, regardless of sexuality or legal immigration status. CIW is a Florida-based “wildcat union” that caters to illegal-immigrant farm workers.
Molly Shack, an organizer for the communist Ohio Student Association (OSA), warned of a pending “corporate takeover” of Ohio’s public K-12 system, exhorting protesters to attend a May 2 OSA rally outside the Ohio Department of Education.
This March, Shack testified before the Ohio House Finance and Appropriations Committee to complain that she was forced to work to support her college lifestyle. Shack called for increased public education subsidies, claiming that any spending reductions would lead to increased sexual assault rates on Ohio’s college campuses.
Equality Ohio Executive Director Elizabeth Holford spoke to the May Day crowd about how expanded access to abortion would benefit the local homosexual community and called attention to “transgender injustice” in America.
The keynote speaker at the event was “Marina,” a self-identified illegal immigrant living and working in Columbus. Marina described herself as a “DREAMer,” a term used by some young illegal immigrants supportive of President Barack Obamas proposed amnesty legislation, the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
As Marina was unable to speak English, she informed the crowd through a translator that she wanted to call upon the state legislature to grant illegal immigrants such as herself the privilege of attending Ohio’s public universities at the reduced in-state tuition rates offered to legal Ohio residents.
After Marinas brief speech concluded, the progressive protesters adjourned to the Trinity Episcopal Church adjacent to the Ohio Statehouse for a free dinner and further discussion of the various issues facing the leftist fringe in Ohio.