Thousands rally in Montpelier to Put People First!

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Thousands turned out today at the May 1st Put People First march and rally in Montpelier to show support for creating a world where we put people and the planet first.

Vermont Parents United marching:

The day kicked off with music, a “false solutions circus,” a Contestoria with Bread & Puppet and Migrant Justice, and postal workers sharing their struggles to protect the Postal Service from privatization.

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The march kicked off at 12:30pm, with over 37 groups represented! Represented in the march were groups organizing around climate justice, farmers, nurses, teachers, farmworkers, early educators, students, disability rights organizations, mobile home park residents, Occupy groups from all over Vermont, members of the Put People First campaign, and many more!

Shela Linton, of the Windham County organizing committee, welcomed the crowd and drew connections between the many struggles represented:

“We need to fight for environmental justice, fight to end racism, fight for workers’ rights, for women’s rights, for disability justice, for migrant justice, for democracy. So my friends, I am honored to be here with you all on May Day 2012 for the Vermont Put People and the Planet First Rally!”

Group picture from the Put People First march & rally!

In addition to celebrating the many victories of the past year--the passage of the first universal healthcare bill in Vermont, the move towards creating a drivers license for all Vermont residents, the birth of the Occupy movement, the organizing and victories of mobile home park residents after Irene, both chambers of the legislature passing bills to create collective bargaining rights for early educators, and saving dialysis units at Fletcher Allen from being sold to a for-profit company--the rally looked forward towards the challenges ahead. Specifically, the People’s Budget legislation and the continued fight for an Early Educators union.

The day culminated in the Unity Cord, representing how many struggles become one movement.

Organizations participating in the Put People First march & rally:
Vermont Workers' Center
Migrant Justice
350 Vermont
Vermont Center for Independent Living
Green Mountain Self-Advocates
Mobile Home Park Residents For Equality & Fairness
Vermont Sierra Club
Rural Vermont
NOFA - VT
Planned Parenthood Northern New England
VT Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals Local 5221
Vermont State Colleges Faculty Federation Local 3180 AFT
United Academics (AAUP-AFT)
Vermont State Employees Association
Vermont AFL-CIO
Vermont Interfaith Action
Green Mountain Central Labor Council AFL-CIO
Students Stand Up! (Students for Peace and Global Justice)
Occupy Central Vermont
Occupy Burlington
Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe
UE Local 203 (City Market)
UE Local 255 (Hunger Mountain Food Coop)
UE Local 267 (UVM, Service and Maintenance)
UE Local 208 (Vermont Service Center in St, Albans)
United Nurses and Allied Professionals, Vermont Council
Peace and Justice Center
Burlington ISO
Vermont Progressive Party
Vermont Interfaith Action
SAGE Alliance
Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance
Citizens Awareness Network
Vermont Citizens Action Network
Vermont IWW
National Economic and Social Rights Initiative
Southern Vermont Undoing Racism