May 1st, also known as “May Day,” is typically an occasion for demonstration and advocacy in support of some of the most marginalized members of society. With this year’s social distancing restrictions, a rally seemed impossible. Mass Peace Action, however, rose to the challenge and responded to this year’s unique obstacles with a pandemic-appropriate event: a car rally.
Now more than ever, the world needs solidarity. The COVID-19 pandemic has especially devastated the most vulnerable members of society, including people of color and members of the working class. UN Secretary-General António Guterres recently called for an international suspension of all international sanctions in order to guarantee all countries equal access to essential food, health, and medical resources.
The car rally was both a show of support and a call for action. The rally advocated for support for frontline and essential workers both locally and across the world, bailouts for small businesses rather than corporations, ends to US sanctions on Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria, and support for immigrants and refugees, among other causes. Protest signs from the 40-car caravan reinforced these ideas.
The group concluded its drive with a more traditional gathering on the Common. The mask-clad, socially-distanced group was a visual representation of the ways in which we can all support one another during these difficult days while still pursuing a peaceful international agenda.
Guterres summarizes the dire need to lift international sanctions: “This is the time for solidarity not exclusion. Let us remember that we are only as strong as the weakest health system in our interconnected world.”
In addition to the car rally, MAPA has also engaged with this issue in recent webinars, which have explored the implications of the pandemic and the need for sanctions to be lifted. Learn how you can help bring an end to sanctions: http://masspeaceaction.org/lift-the-sanctions-now-stop-coronavirus/