Solidarity In Full Bloom - Photo Essay of May Day in San José

Editor's Note:

Thousands in San José took to the streets for International Workers' Day in a collective stand against the political climate of the United States. A young photographer shares her reflections of the show of strength thru her lens.


“I need to fight for what is right...” a soft opening sung by a musician on stage elicited a sense of willpower and dedication on the first of May.

It was a calm reminder that would stir in me the wake of getting back to business, to fight for unity amongst those at the root of our society.

The community gathered in the heart of Mayfair, at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in East San José with a majority of Latino faces, as they comprise a large sector of the working class.

The harmony rose with more inclusion found in diversity as more faces gathered and began to sweat under the glimmers of the scorching heat of the sun.

My skin by the end of the day would finally emerge itself once more, breaking free the color brown.

The sun overlapping its rays provided no room for relief, but the words of the speakers raised the hair on my arms. My body would momentarily cool from inside out as the speakers spoke with passion and emotion.

Solidarity was in full bloom.

“When we gather like this - there’s a lot of talk about what we are not,” commenced a local poet before coming into sync with personal echoes of memorized speech outlining the mixture of ethnic backgrounds found within his blood.

As politically unaware as some may be due to consequences of ethnocentric decision-making, the act of coming together to demand an equal distribution of who gets what, when, and how is fundamentally democracy itself.

As a young girl my mother put white shirts on my brother and I and we made our way to our first march. I remember red huelga flags associated with César Chávez.

As I grew to reason, I knew my voice could make a difference alongside others - even if my life had consisted to this day of inner comfort and deep speculation.

César Chávez was not a loud man himself and has left an imprint wider than the proximity of the East Side.


Just as our human instincts pull us toward a common understanding of the world, our adaption to our environment is something we have the power to change as critical thinkers.

“Politics will always be in science,” voiced one individual on stage.

Color overpowered the stage and familiar music skipped and scattered molding its way into the ears of both the audience who remembered México and those who appreciate culture.

The folklorico dancers resiliently smiled their painted faces - filling the atmosphere with admiration and beauty - planting their feet in the land of América with every stomp.

They scattered seeds of growth and confidence with every wisp of their dresses.

In the same manner, a woman danced alone on stage rejoicing in happiness to the song sung by Shakira, “Waka, Waka This time for Africa.”

Her melanin glowed and her smile grew into the crowd, creating a rhythm molding into unity. Flashbacks of a history caging the minds and bodies of people like her in the United States seem like so long ago.

The truth is the history of that time is the reason why people continue to suffer the effects of being oppressed.

“We are all one creed regardless of belief or disbelief or of the color of one’s own skin,” preached Father John, with the Catholic Diocese of San Jose and once a priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe.




Both women who fluttered their thoughts onto cardboard and the rebelliously portrayed with covered faces listened with intent.

At 3:07 I encountered a woman in the midst of fervent prayer at the exit of the parking lot right before the march commenced.

At 3:00 the prayer of “La Coronilla de la Divina Misericordia” is prayed all around the world for mercy of the entire world because it is the hour that Jesus was crucified. Just as my mother and father were sure to be doing wherever they were.

As everyone scattered to the exit of the parking lot to begin to march, smoke engulfed the atmosphere.
The beat of the drum representing palpitations of the heart synthesized everyone’s direction.

Danzantes Aztecas began to ask for permission from mother earth to not only dance but to roam the city of San José in an effort toward resistance and resilience.


The Aztec dancers traveled the streets peacefully sliding their scaly feet in a motion of trying to liberate the dirt that lay beneath the cement, which before industrialization and capitalism was simply a home provided by the earth.

Although another speaker stated that, “Our world does not survive on random acts of kindness alone,” there were many examples of good will found in the free water bottles handed out by businesses and people along the march route, not to mention the free tacos provided by a local restaurant.

The heart of San Jose has notably a strong will to demand its rights and come together. Faces range from babies being carried on their mother’s back, growing children, high school organizers, higher education pursuers, the working class, and other allies.

It’s time for everyone to know their worth. Keep advocating for an equal society. Push through barriers with knowledge and numbers.



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