PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In the wake of the race-fueled violence in Charlottesville last month, organizers of a Labor Day march in Providence on Monday decided the event would be about more than just workers’ rights.
With drums and other music being played behind him, Rhode Island Jobs with Justice executive director Michael Araujo joined hundreds marching downtown to observe Labor Day. An organizer of the event, he said a march like this hasn’t been held in Providence in several years so he wanted labor and community groups to come together to remind people about the history of the holiday.
“It’s good that people go home and have barbecues, that’s important too, but also to show that we’re a union, that we’re together in this and that we stand united,” Araujo said.Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894. Typically the march has been about labor rights, but the events in Virginia and nationwide led organizers to make the event about racial equality as well.
“Labor unions have traditionally been one of the best tools of social justice for creating equality in the workplace but also doing actual on the ground work in society,” Aroujo added.
Teamsters Local 251 also helped organize the event. They held signs with messages about how they’re also trying to fight discrimination.
“What better forum for calling out discrimination is on our day, Labor Day,” said Matthew Taibi, the union’s secretary-treasurer and principal officer.
The march started at Kennedy Plaza and ended at the State House.