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Immigrant Justice Rising: A Chronology of Immigrant-Led Mobilizations, Spring 2006

Clare Bayard
Date Published: 
September 01, 2006
    The following list is not exhaustive, but is intended to give a sense of the scope, scale, and growing power of the immigrants’ rights movement across the country. In major urban centers, agricultural areas, and small towns, and from historical strongholds of multiracial organizing to newly emerging areas of activity—we can see a movement with deep roots coming into blossom.

Fire builds

The double asterisk (**) indicates the largest protest ever recorded in the listed city or area, or the largest protest recorded in decades. Where several numbers are listed, they indicate the range of estimates given for a single protest.


Coachella Valley, California–hundreds of people form human chains along Highway 111.


Mid-Atlantic region–5,000 people participate in a regional “Day without an Immigrant,” boycotting work and notifying employers in protest of HR4437.


Portland, Oregon–4,000 people rally and march, joined by farm workers from Oregon, Idaho and Washington.


Washington, DC–30,000.


Atlanta–100 protest in City Hall.




Tampa, Florida–several hundred.


Topeka, Kansas–several hundred.


Santa Cruz, California–500.


Trenton, New Jersey–1,200 rally, following the Mid-Atlantic Regional “Day without an Immigrant.”


Providence, Rhode Island–200.


San Jose, California–5,000.


Milwaukee, Wisconsin–30,000.


Racine, Wisconsin.


Phoenix, Arizona–30,000.**

Tucson, Arizona–1,500.

Kansas City–2,000.


Los Angeles–2,700 students walk off at least eight campuses. Others rally on campus. In at least one high school, students climb the gate after administrators declare a lockdown.

Atlanta–80,000 workers boycott, and 200 rally at the capitol.

Gainesville, Georgia–hundreds of students boycott.


Charlotte, North Carolina–7,000.

Cleveland, Ohio–100 rally, organized by a Latino pastors’ coalition.


Houston–5,000-10,000 rally for DREAM Act, mostly students.

Los Angeles–1-2 million. **

Sacramento, California–4,000.

Watsonville and Salinas, California–2,500 (including the Peregrinación por la Paz, a march of Latino military families and war resisters from Tijuana).

San Jose, California–15,000-30,000.

Protests take place in many more cities, including Boise, Idaho; Columbus, Ohio; Knoxville, Tennessee; Trenton, New Jersey: and Reno, Nevada.


Columbus, Ohio–4,000-7,000.

Kernersville, North Carolina–700.

Los Angeles–3,500 rally, organized by the United Farm Workers.

Santa Rosa, California–5,000.

New York City–500 in Washington Heights.


San Francisco–5,000 rally, including marchers from the Peregrinación

por la Paz.

Santa Ana, California–700 rally while 200 riot police invade their neighborhood.

Watsonville, California–march.

Detroit–over 50,000.

Grand Rapids, Michigan–nearly 10,000.


Washington, DC–1,500, including 100 clergy.

Louisville, Kentucky–3,000.

Phoenix–400 walk out and march to state capitol.

Los Angeles–25,000-40,000 middle and high school students from 52 schools walk out, blocking freeways and encircling City Hall.

Orange County, California–high school students take over the Riverside Freeway.

Sacramento, California–70.

Fresno, California–over 500 walk out to rally at City Hall.

San Diego–1,000.

Long Beach, California–3,000.

San Jose, California–several hundred.

Santa Ana, California–200 high school students shut down the tax collection office in Farmersville.

Many more walkouts take place across California and in Washington.


Las Vegas, Nevada–1,000 walk out.

Springdale, Arkansas–36 high school students walk out.

Northern Virginia–250 high school students and 8 middle school students walk out.

Phoenix, Arizona–hundreds walk out, march to Capitol.

Los Angeles –6,000 walk out from 25 schools in the rain.

Long Beach, California–400 walk out.

Farmersville, California–200 march to present mayor with a petition, in a walkout called by farm worker women and students.

Fresno, California–5,000-6,000 rally at City Hall in the rain.

San Diego–3,000 walk out, holding rallies at Chicano Park and on campuses.

Concord, California–hundreds walk out.

Watsonville, California–1,000 walk out.

Whittier, California–300-500 walk out.

Houston–1,000 walk out.

Dallas–3,300 walk out & rally at City Hall.


Nashville, Tennessee–15,000 rally in the largest protest since the civil rights movement.

Bakersfield, California–3,800 walk out, some marching 10 miles to downtown Bakersfield.

Fresno, California –hundreds walk out, 200 arrested or detained.

Las Vegas–500 walk out.

San Diego–2,000 walk out.

Phoenix–hundreds walk out.

Houston–hundreds walk out.

Santa Cruz, California–hundreds walk out.

Many Los Angeles schools on lock-down, with hundreds of students still protesting.



San Diego–several hundred walk out; many are brutalized and arrested by police.

El Paso, Texas–thousands walk out.

Tucson, Arizona–300 walk out.

Homestead, Florida–South Dade High School offers buses to protesting students.

Hundreds walk out in Fresno, Bakersfield, and other towns across California’s Central Valley.

3/31 - Cesar Chavez Day

Austin, Texas–75 high school students walk out and march to Capitol.

Bakersfield, California–1,000 students walk out. Schools on are lock-down, threatening students with expulsion; many students jump fences to join the protest.

Bastrop, Texas–100 student walk out of classes.

El Paso, Texas–2,500 rally, about half high school students.

Fresno, California–500 middle school students walk out and are taken to a truancy center.

Haltom City, Texas–150 walk out for a fifth consecutive day.

Houston, Texas–26 students arrested.

Los Angeles –100 rally in the rain at City Hall.

Concord, California–hundreds walk out.

Las Vegas–3,000 middle and high school students walk out.

Lufkin, Texas–hundreds walk out.

Lynnwood, Washington–several dozen students walk out and demand a meeting with the mayor.

Mountain View, California–60 students walk out.

Newburgh, New York–100 students walk out.

Round Rock, Texas–100 students boycott school to march .

San Antonio, Texas–60 students walk out of three high schools.

San Diego–6,000 march, shutting down the Coronado Bridge.

Tucson, Arizona–1,000 middle school and 300 high school students walk out.

Tyler, Texas–100 walk out.

Watsonville, California–50 walk out and protest at City Hall.

Many California students are locked out of schools due to walkouts, including 34,000 North County students.


New York City–10,000 march across Brooklyn Bridge.

Oklahoma City–10,000.

San Juan, Texas–2,000.


Monterey, California–4,000.

Tucson, Arizona–7,000.


Oakland, California –seventh graders organize a protest at Melrose Leadership Academy.


Aurora, Illinois–400 students walk out.


Weekend protests before National Day of Action:

Birmingham, Alabama–4,000.

Boise, Idaho–5,000.


Des Moines, Iowa–5,000.

Denver, Colorado–thousands.

Lexington, Kentucky–9,000.

Minneapolis, Minnesota–thousands.

Richmond, Virginia–3,000.

Salem, Oregon–5,000-6,000.

Salt Lake City–20,000.

San Diego–50,000.

St. Louis, Missouri–5,000.

St. Paul, Minnesota–40,000.

4/10–National Day of Action in over 100 cities:

Albertville, Alabama–5,000.


Anchorage, Alaska–rally.

Asheville, North Carolina–60.

Atlanta–50,000. **

Austin, Texas–10,000.

Bakersfield, California–7,000-15,000.

Birmingham, Alabama–3,000.

Bloomington, Illinois–hundreds.


Boulder, Colorado–150.

Brownsville, Texas–350.

Burlington, Vermont–100.

Cameron County, Texas–500.

Carbondale, Illinois–100.

Champaign, Illinois–hundreds attend town halls and protests.

Charleston, South Carolina–4,000.

Chicago–500 attend town hall meeting; school walkout at Morton East.

Colorado Springs, Colorado–1,000.

Columbia, South Carolina–3,000.

Columbus, Ohio–3,000.

Corpus Christi, Texas–hundreds.

Davis to Sacramento, California–100 march for nine miles.

Denver, Colorado–7,000-10,000 attend a vigil for border deaths.

Dodge City, Kansas–1,000 rally, 200 students walk out.

Durango, Colorado

Emporia, Kansas–1,500.

Eugene, Oregon–500.

Flagstaff, Arizona–500, including many youth.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida–1,000 picket federal courthouse.

Fort Meyers–75,000.**

Fort Pierce, Florida–2,500.

Fort Smith, Arkansas–3,000.

Fresno, California–10,000.**

Garden City, Kansas–3,000.

Grand Junction, Colorado–3,500.

Greenville, South Carolina–2,500.

Hartford, Connecticut–2,000.

Homestead, Florida–2,500.


Indianapolis, Indiana–20,000.

Jackson, Mississippi–500, mostly poultry workers.

Jersey City, New Jersey–3,000.

Jonesborough, Tennessee–dozens bring pay stubs & tax receipts to courthouse.

Kansas City, Missouri–thousands.

Knoxville, Tennessee–hundreds.

Lake Worth, Florida–5,000.

Las Cruces, New Mexico–300.

Las Vegas–3,500.

Lawrence, Kansas–300.

Lexington, Kentucky–3,000.

Lincoln, Nebraska.

Little Rock, Arkansas–2,000.

Los Angeles–5,000.

Madison, Wisconsin–15,000-25,000.

Memphis, Tennessee–hundreds gather at National Civil Rights Museum.


New York City–100,000.

Oakland, California–20,000.

Omaha, Nebraska–8,000.

Pensacola, Florida–1,000.



Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania–100.

Plant City, Florida–hundreds rally; 200 students walk out to join in.

Portland, Maine–100.

Portland, Oregon–8,000.

Port Arthur, Texas–200.

Providence, Rhode Island–5,000.

Quincy, Florida–3,000.**

Reno, Nevada–5,000.

Salem, Oregon–10,000.

Salt Lake City–25,000.**

Sacramento, California–30,000.

Salinas, California–2,000 students, members of the Student Coalition for Social Justice, participate in rally at Salinas courthouse.

Salem, Oregon–5,000-15,000.

San Antonio, Texas–18,000.

San Diego–100,000.**

San Francisco–5,000.

San Rafael, California–hundreds.

San Jose, California–10,000.

Santa Ana, California–hundreds.

Santa Fe, New Mexico–hundreds.


Schaumburg, Illinois–dozens protest at offices of Representatives who voted for HR4437.

Silver City, North Carolina–2,000-10,000.

Sioux City, North Dakota–5,000.

Smithfield, North Carolina–200.

South Bend, Indiana–hundreds.

Springdale, Arkansas–thousands.

Topeka, Kansas–hundreds.

Tucson, Arizona–10,000.

Washington, DC–150,000-200,000.

Wichita, Kansas–4,000.

Wilmington, North Carolina–hundreds.


Carson City, Nevada–200 students walk out and rally at governor’s mansion.

Dodge City, Kansas–600 meatpacking workers walk out in solidarity after company officials discipline employees for missing work during the National Day of Action.

Reno, Nevada–2,000-4,000 march.


Toledo, Ohio–1,000.


Woodburn, Oregon–students from several schools walk out and march.


Denver, Colorado–middle and high school students walk out.


Portland, Maine–100.


Bakersfield, California–thousands.


Bowling Green, Kentucky–300-350 in the rain.

Lynwood, California–3,000.

May Day

On May 1, International Workers’ Day celebrations were held around the world. In Mexico, millions of protestors participated in "A Day without Gringos." Some border crossings were blocked northbound.

In the US, a national immigrant general strike, or “A Day without Immigrants,” was held in about 200 cities. Marches, rallies, school walkouts, boycotts, strikes, and solidarity workplace closures fed the momentum, building on February’s Mid-Atlantic general strikes and March’s boycott and strikes in Georgia.

Although much of the leadership in the Great Strike came from [email protected] communities, migrants from around the world also participated in the actions, along with allies from Black, white and indigenous communities. Some protests included contingents that highlighted political as well as ethnic and racial diversity. San Francisco’s Arab and Muslim community led a contingent in the city’s May Day march. In Worcester, Massachusetts, several immigrant communities organized feeder marches.

Accomack County, VA–several hundred.

Alamosa, Colorado–200.

Albuquerque, New Mexico–2,000-5,000.

Allentown, Pennsylvania–300.

Anchorage, Alaska–hundreds.

Athens, Georgia–1,200


Aurora, Illinois–9,000.

Austin, Texas–8,000.

Bakersfield, California–15,000 march; 4,000 students walk out.

Beaufort County, South Carolina–80-90% of [email protected] boycott work.

Berkeley, California–1,000 college and high school students.

Boise, Idaho–75.


Boulder, Colorado–2,000.

Burlington, Vermont–300

Carbondale, Colorado–1,200

Camden, New Jersey–1,000 join Philadelphia rally; most independent grocers in county closed.

Caldwell, Idaho–several hundred for silent vigil.

Cannon Beach, Oregon–175.

Ceres, California–2,000.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina–40.

Charlotte, North Carolina–10,000 rally; 684 students absent; Spanish-language radio goes ad-free to support boycott.

Chattanooga, Tennessee–300.

Chicago–600,000 (fire department estimate); some school districts up to 80% absent.

Cincinnati, Ohio–several thousand rally at National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Cleveland, Ohio–200-400.

Colorado Springs, Colorado–3,000.

Columbus, Ohio–40 at Ohio State University.

Concord, California–3,000.


The Dalles, Oregon–700.

Dayton, Ohio–550.

Denver, Colorado–75,000.**

Des Moines, Iowa–40 or more businesses closed.

Detroit–many businesses closed.

Dothan, Alabama–hundreds.

Durango, Colorado–100.

Eugene, Oregon–400.

Kansas City, Missouri–2,000.

Knoxville, Tennessee–300.

El Paso, Texas.

Eugene, Oregon–1,000-1,500.

Eureka, California–hundreds march to Arcata.

Florida–30,000 rally in Pensacola, Homestead, Fort Meyers and other cities.

Forks, Washington–700.

Fresno, California–15,000; 3,000-4,000 students protest at California State University – Fresno before the main rally.

Grand Island, Nebraska–3,000.

Grand Junction, Colorado–3,500.

Hickory, North Carolina–hundreds.

Hood River, Oregon–1,500.


Huntsville, Alabama–several hundred.

Ithaca, New York–400.

Joliet, Illinois–600.

Laramie, Wyoming–200.

Las Vegas, Nevada–2,000.

Laurel, Mississippi–200.

Little Rock, Arkansas–hundreds.

Los Angeles–500,000. 27% of students were absent, and 90% of the LA port was shut down.

Louisville, Kentucky–1,000.

Lumberton, North Carolina–4,000.**

Madras, Oregon–250.

McAllen, Texas–thousands rally, 700 students absent.

Medford, Oregon–500.

Merrifield, Virginia–some day labor crews reduced by over 90%.

Miami–10,000 rally; 65,000 walk out.

Madison, Wisconsin–7,000-9,000.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin–70,000.


Modesto, California–10,000 rally; 250 students march from Modesto High School.**

Morehead, Kentucky–60.

Nashville, Tennessee– many workers strike;, immigrants shut off lights from 8-9 p.m.

New York City–50-500,000; 1,000 make chain measuring 10 blocks in Jackson Heights, Queens.

New Orleans–2,000-10,000.

Oak Cliff, Texas–500.

Oakland, California–15,000-50,000.

Odessa, Texas–rally.

Ogden, Utah–1,000.

Olympia, Washington–400.

Ottumwa, Michigan–hundreds rally; 440 students absent.

Oxnard, California–4,000.

Omaha, Nebraska–3,000-6,000.

Ontario, California–1,000.

Orlando, Florida–20-30,000.**

Paso Robles, California–200 rally; 24% students absent.


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania–150.

Port Chester, New York–2,000 march;, blocks of stores closed.

Porterville, California–4,000.**

Portland, Oregon–10,000.

Poughkeepsie, New York–800-2,000.

Pueblo, Colorado–500.

Raleigh, North Carolina–3,000.

Rapid City, South Dakota–several hundred.

Russelville, Alabama–more than 20% of [email protected] students absent in a town with a large Ku Klux Klan presence.

Salem, Oregon–8,000-10,000.

Salinas, California–13,000-20,000.**

San Antonio, Texas– thousands.

San Bernadino, California–1,000.

San Diego–10,000 at multiple events.

San Francisco–75-125,000.

San Juan, Texas.

San Rafael, California–5,000-7,000.**

Santa Ana, California–2,000-5,000; police start a confrontation with protesters.

Santa Cruz, California –4,000-6,000 rally when two marches merge.

Santa Maria, California –5,000-30,000.

Santa Rosa, California–8,000-10,000.**

Santa Barbara, California–15,000.

Sacramento, California–18,000-40,000.

Salt Lake City–7,500 (10,000 participate in events across Utah).

San Jose, California –50,000-100,000.**

San Ysidro, California–1,000-2,500 march to border.

Seaside, California –1,000-2,000.


Siler City, North Carolina–city effectively shut down through boycott.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota–hundreds.

Somerville, Massachusetts–hundreds.


Sussex County, Delaware–poultry plants shut down.

Tennessee–10,000 strike and boycott.

Tiffin, Ohio–200, organized by Toledo’s Farm Labor Organizing Committee.

Tulare, California–3,000.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama–200 participate in silent march on University of Alabama campus.

Union City, California–1,000.

Ventura, California–200 march; some school districts almost 40% absent.

Virginia Beach, Virginia–hundreds.

Vista, California–8,000-12,000

Washington D.C.– 2,000-3,000 rally at Malcolm X Park; 5,000 rally at Capitol.

Watsonville, California–12,000.

Wendover, Utah–500.

White Plains, New York–500 high school students walk out and march to courthouse.

Worcester, Massachusetts–2,500 rally in the largest local protest since the Vietnam War; 67 businesses close; 800-900 students are absent. Feeder marches organized for students, Africans, Colombians, Dominicans, Jamaicans, Latinos, Pleasant St. Neighbors, and Christians.

Yakima, Washington–8,000-15,000.**

By Any Means Necessary….

The effects of the general strike hit well beyond the visible numbers of protesters in the streets and absent from schools. Thousands of stores, companies, offices, small businesses, service agencies, and branches of corporate industries either closed down in solidarity or were forced into closure by loss of workers. Port truckers in shut down 90% of transport at the Port of Los Angeles.

In many of central California's agricultural counties–Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, San Joaquin–tens of thousands of workers were absent. Gallo Wines suspended production. In the South and elsewhere, industries including construction, domestic work, and meatpacking suffered huge absences. Many plants closed–including a dozen factories belonging to Tyson, the world’s largest meat producer. Tyson, Swift, Perdue and Cargill closed plants employing more than 20,000 people across the Midwest and the West. Chain restaurants including McDonald’s and Chipotle shut stores and slashed shifts. Human chains blocked Wal-Marts and Home Depots in Arizona, while student protestors blocked Wal-Mart in Mexico City.

During Mexico’s “A Day without Gringos” events, protestors shut down several border crossings. Northbound traffic was shut down intermittently for three hours as 400 protestors blocked the Tijuana-San Ysidro crossing. Hundreds of protestors used their bodies and rope to shut down the Hidalgo International Bridge (between McAllen, Texas and Reynosa, Mexico) for 14 hours. The bridge between Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexicao was also blocked for hours.

ABOUT THE AUTHORClare Bayard is based in San Francisco CA and works with the Catalyst Project and the Heads Up Collective, through which she is involved in the Deporten a la Migra Coalition.