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Boston May Day Coalition discusses DACA rally, future plans in Post Action Meeting


John Harris and Charlie Welch sit down at the Boston May Day Coalition’s Post Action Meeting Saturday afternoon to discuss future action. PHOTO BY MAGGIE LEONE/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The Boston May Day Coalition held a Post Action Meeting on Saturday afternoon to discuss their rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals held last weekend, as well as to plan the next steps for the organization.

The coalition, which was founded in 2006, is an organization focused on standing up against hate and anti-migrant policies, according to a pamphlet handed out to residents at the meeting. About 10 people attended the meeting and all were invited to speak. Contributors sat in a circle and had an open-ended conversation about the successes and failures of the rally.

Some of the coalition’s demands include banning state, local and campus law enforcement from immigration related action, making sure individuals are not detained by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after being released by the state and protecting all detainees under due process when related to their immigration status, according to the pamphlet.

“The government in Washington has stepped up attacks on migrants to levels not seen in years. Our united action is only the beginning,” BMDC posted on the Facebook page for the Post Action Meeting.

Matthew Andrews, co-chair of the Green-Rainbow Party in Massachusetts and a member of the Boston May Day Coalition, wrote in an email before the gathering that the main goal of the Post Action Meeting was to take time to reflect on the rally and introduce new citizens to the coalition’s work.

“This meeting is to evaluate our rally from last week, bring new people into the coalition and expand our organizing work,” Andrews wrote. “We hope attendees will connect with one another and feel empowered to win justice for immigrants.”

Andrews said during the meeting that he was impressed with the turnout at the rally.

“Boston is a city full of immigrants who rely on precarious immigration policies like DACA and TPS [Temporary Protected Status] to access things the rest of us take for granted,” Andrews said. “We underestimated how much energy there would be, largely because of the weather.”

Andrews said utilizing social media to spread awareness of and coordinate the rally was a large contributing factor to its success.

“The Facebook page and event made a really big different on short notice,” Andrews said. “This clearly had an impact on how many people showed up so we need to continue to manage it closely.”

Despite not having any BMDC events in the near future, Andrews said they planned to cosponsor and help organize events run by other activists and organizations as well as counter protest any of their opposition groups if necessary.

“By helping other organizations and volunteering and attending their events, this can all be linked to building relationships that can hopefully help us in the end too,” Andrews said.

John Harris, an organizer with the Boston May Day Coalition, said the rally last week was attended by an estimated 2,000 people.

Overall, Harris said the rally went according to plan, though there were small issues such as the absence of a thorough donation plan.

“Overall, it went well and the program went smoothly,” Harris said. “There were certain lapses, we didn’t really have a donation plan in place although we did have collection buckets with labels.”

Harris said the Boston May Day Coalition collected approximately $460 in donations from the rally. The group voted to donate $100 of the donations to encuentro 5, which is a meeting space for organizations dedicated to social activism, according to their official website.

Harris said the fences set up in the Boston Common near the State House were also an issue, which he said left many residents feeling claustrophobic.  

“We didn’t know about the fences so many of the participants felt ‘boxed in’ and stuck in a more confined space,” Harris said.

Charlie Welch, a member of the BMDC, said there are technical improvements to keep in mind before the group’s next rally.

“It was a successful rally,” Welch said, “but there was a number of issues with things like sound that we could definitely improve on before the next action.”

Some of the BMDC members said they plan to volunteer at a rally next week run by the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism coalition Boston, an anti-war organization that was founded just days after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, according to the ANSWER coalition’s website.

The purpose of their rally on Wednesday afternoon will be to denounce crimes within the state and speak out against police brutality, according to the official Facebook page for the rally.

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