May 1st Strike Guide
Once you have created or joined a circle, this guide will help you structure your team, plan and realize actions, and absorb new members. As you join our May 1st Campaign grow, these developing guidelines are intended to support and inspire creative local organizing. Get started now!
Understand Cosecha's strategy and why we believe strikes and boycotts are our greatest tactics.
Promoting May 1st
Find support for how to spread the Cosecha message and advertise A Day Without Immigrants through one-on-ones and media.
May Day Timeline
Look at our series of planned actions building up to May 1st and adapt our timeline to your city.
Learn the best practices for worker protection and how communities can mobilize to provide extra support.
Creating a Circle
Organize locally now! Learn about our local organizing structure and join or create a circle today.
May 1st is only the beginning! Learn how to make the movement stronger after May Day with mass trainings.
We are the 11 million.
The 11 million who have felt the pain of not being able to visit our loved ones; to bury loved ones who have passed away.
The 11 million who go to work everyday, knowing we could be taken in a raid. The millions who know what it is like to be exploited; to swallow our pride and stay quiet so that we can keep our job.
Time and time again we’re called upon to vote for the next Deporter in Chief. Whether it was Obama, or now Trump. We’re called upon to decide who will shape the immigration policy for the next four to eight years. Each election we’re urged to vote for the Democrats with the stagnated promise of immigration reform. When their promises go unfulfilled, when Obama deports 3 million immigrants under his presidency, or when Trump expands his power to deport and terrorize our communities, what do we do?
We are Movimiento Cosecha - named to honor the thousands of undocumented workers that provide food to our many tables. Cosecha is a nonviolent movement that is fighting for permanent protection, dignity and respect for all 11 million undocumented immigrants. Our strategy is based on the popular wisdom of our people: for years our people have talked about using our labor power to show the American public what would really happen without us. Our central belief is that this country depends on us and that if we choose non cooperation in mass numbers- if we decide not to go to work, not to go to school, not to purchase anything- for a whole week, then they will have to give us what we want. They will have to give us the permanent protection they have promised us for so long.
We are left with two options - we can wait and watch the news to see what will Trump do. We can choose to wait for the same immigration reform that Obama promised us 8 years ago, or that Bush promised us 16 years ago. Or we can choose to wake the sleeping giant and show this country what would happen without us.
We will not go to school. We will not open our stores. We will not buy anything. Millions of us will gather in the center of our cities, and we will march so they see the power of our strike.
Bring food. Bring traditional clothing from your home countries. And most importantly, bring music because on May 1st there will be dancing in the streets. Imagine. Millions of people on the streets. Together in community. Marching, dancing, blocking streets and stores. A sea of people coursing through the streets like a great river.
We look around and see we are not the only ones saying “Enough! We can’t live like this anymore.” We feel the goosebumps on our skin, because we feel in our bodies that we are not alone. That resistance runs in our veins. That the pride of our ancestors beats in our hearts: those we’ve left behind; those who've come before us in the struggle for a better life. We see the pride in our children, who finally feel seen. The pride in our parents’ faces as they smile; they finally smile.
It is the pride in knowing we stand firm, while everyone else wants us to go back to work or school. And the more people join us, the stronger we feel; the more desperate the public becomes for everything to go back to normal. And it doesn’t matter anymore whether they think we’re deserving enough or not, because this country needs us. Because they know that this time, we will not stop until we’ve won. May 1st will bring a new day of hope for the migrant community. This time, when the giant awakes, it will not fall back asleep. We will begin a season of boycotts and strikes, and we will not stop until we’ve won permanent protection, dignity and respect.
On May 1st, we're going to strike. In order to get all our communities ready for mass participation and non-cooperation, we've developed a 10 week campaign for local circles to engage in a series of coordinated escalating actions culminating in a A Day Without Immigrants. Our proposed campaign timeline of coordinated actions includes banner drops, street art actions, community meetings, salsa shutdowns, and student walkouts, timed to repeatedly engage and absorb people into our movement.
Creating a Circle
Cosecha is a decentralized network of people organized in "circles". A circle is a group of 3-7 people that meet regularly (usually weekly) and take action on the Cosecha strategy. Circles care for each other and work hard to bring more people on board.
You don't need permission to participate in the movement. Our “3-activist rule” says that once 3 people decide to join Cosecha, they can form a circle and get full support from the movement. As long as they follow our basic principles and vision, circles act autonomously and make the decisions that affect their work. That way, everyone can choose to participate in actions that they are most excited about.
Our movement needs everyone--musicians, artists, dancers, creatives, mothers, daughters, workers, street-intellectuals, poets, academics, students, etc. We encourage risk-taking because the diversity of our creativity will help us find the most effective strategies, tools, and actions for the movement. To join or create a local circle, click here.
Every circle has the following four primary roles, as described below. When your circle grows, new roles can be added as needed.
Responsible for making sure meetings are running on time, figures out best meeting times and locations with circle members, reminds circle members of upcoming meetings and activities, keeps track of what people commit to doing and gives them reminders to ensure that tasks are getting done. Remember that when someone takes up a role, they're committing to certain responsibilities.
- Sets up date, time, location of meeting
- Tracks responsibilities
- Follow up/reminders
Responsible for gathering ideas for the agenda and making sure members feel listened to. Through listening and asking questions, they get the team to focus and make decisions around the work or actions they want to take.
- Builds agenda, listens
- Get to Action Points
- Slow Down – conflict resolution
Responsible for recruiting new people, following up with new people if they sign up or connect during an action, and integrating them into the team and Cosecha by giving them introductory and important information.
- Doing outreach
- Sharing “what is Cosecha”
- Follow up/reminders
Responsible for taking notes, communicating with other circles and the public, keeping track of the lists of Cosecha participants, and working with the recruiter to make sure that folks who are part of the lists are invited to events. They're also looking for new avenues of collaboration.
- Tracking lists
Once you have a circle, all you need is a time and a place. To get you started, we have sample meeting agendas that focus on defining goals, choosing roles, and taking actions. Another recommendation we have is to ground your meetings with resonating, an empathetic practice for sharing stories and building trust within out movement. View our resonating guide to learn more.
First Meeting Sample Agenda
- Decide your purpose as a circle:
- What is your purpose?
- What is your neighborhood/city/county?
- Choose primary roles
- Decide what action or event you’re going to do next
- Decide who’s doing what for the next action or event
- Choose your next meeting date
Second Meeting Sample Agenda
- Review goals and any open items from last week
- Check in on work (everyone gives updates, decide what else needs to be done, who’s doing it, etc.)
- Repeat back next steps
- Set next meeting time and location
Promoting May 1st
For our community, we know not going to work is a sacrifice with real risks. While it is impossible to eliminate those risks entirely, Cosecha wants to inform, prepare, and empower our communities to take measured risk together. To build local capacity to protect workers, check out our comprehensive worker protection guides:
While Cosecha aims to use preventative measures and community mobilization to minimize the impact of A Day Without Immigrants on workers who strike, we are also building an Emergency Strike Fund to support those who do face retaliation for participating. Click here to learn more about the strike fund and make a donation. We encourage local groups to launch grassroots fundraising campaigns to support the fund.