Working people are the beating heart of our economies; they produce everything that we need and use, and are the driving force that keeps us strong. May Day, or International Workers Day, is a global day of action celebrating workers and the ongoing struggle to improve their lives.
The history of May Day dates back to 1886, when hundreds of thousands of workers across North America mobilized for a one-day strike, demanding an eight-hour working day. As tensions grew, demonstrators in Chicago’s Haymarket Square were met with police violence. Later, labour activists and known anarchists were targeted and hanged for their dissent. In 1889, May Day was declared an international day of solidarity, to honour the lives of the Haymarket Martyrs and demand better working conditions for all working people.
In Toronto, local community groups like No One is Illegal, May First Movement, Migrante and other labour and migrant justice advocacy groups continue to fuel this movement, organizing rallies and actions to honour and advocate for all working people, regardless of status, race, gender and (dis)ability.