I am a Human Being | Soy un Ser Humano

In September 2006, UNITE HERE Local 11 organized what was likely the largest act of civil disobedience in Los Angeles History. Union members, faith leaders, elected officials, and community allies joined in a large march to protest low wages at corporate hotels along Century Blvd outside of Los Angeles International Airport. The protest demonstrated the union’s ability to build a broad coalition in support of worker and immigrant right at a time when the union was negotiating with hotel employers over a new contract. Building on the themes of the spring 2006 immigrant rights marches, Century Blvd. marchers also evoked the civil rights movement. The slogan “I am a Human Being” echoed the famous message Memphis sanitation workers strikers of 1968, “I am a Man.” Over 300 demonstrators were arrested by Los Angeles Police and bused to Van Nuys for processing. Produced by UNITE-HERE Local 11, this film combines TV news footage, interviews, and street scenes to document the union’s mass action on Century Blvd.

Mathews, Joe. “The State; A Plan for Very Civil Disobedience; Police and Union Will Follow a Script, Which Even Specifies Who Will Be Arrested, in a March near LAX to Organize Hotel Workers.: [HOME EDITION].” Los Angeles Times; Los Angeles, Calif., September 28, 2006, sec. Main News; Part A; Metro Desk. http://search.proquest.com/latimes/docview/422186033/abstract/3B85F37323DB4A3CPQ/13.

Los Angeles Immigrant Rights March, 2006

On May 1, 2006 hundreds of thousands marched in Los Angeles and other large U.S. cities in support of immigrant rights. Called by many “A Day without an Immigrant,” the May Day protests were the culmination of months of planning in response to a punitive immigration bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 4437). This video is from the Los Angeles Independent Media Center (IMC, http://la.indymedia.org/news/2006/05/156112.php). Independent media in LA and elsewhere was an important venue for social movement news in the early 2000s, but in Los Angeles the large crowds were also mobilized by Spanish-language commercial radio and television stations that embraced the call to oppose H.R. 4437.

“THE MAY DAY MARCHES; Cities’ Immigrants Spoke One Language This Time; Rallies Attract More than a Million People of Varied Nationalities across the U.S. The Effect of the Economic Boycott Remains Unclear.: [HOME EDITION] - Los Angeles Times - ProQuest.” Accessed January 31, 2020. https://search.proquest.com/latimes/docview/422125282/B0609268A41C4AB7PQ/12?accountid=14512.
Watanabe, Teresa, and Nicole Gaouette. “The May Day Marches. News Analysis. Next: Converting the Energy of Protest to Political Clout.” Los Angeles Times, May 2, 2006, sec. Main News; Part A; Metro Desk. https://search.proquest.com/latimes/docview/422113508/abstract/D0B0D36B257A4D95PQ/1.