On Monday about 8,000 demonstrators marched on the Las Vegas Strip, then continued on Flamingo Road to the off-Strip Palms Casino. While Donald Trump’s actions played a hand in drawing people to the May Day march, organizers aimed to deliver a broader message. They sought to show unity across the labor movement and civil rights movement in this new era of progressive resistance.
A broad and diverse coalition of advocacy groups joined the Culinary Union for the May Day March on the Las Vegas Strip. Battle Born Progress, PLAN, Chispa Nevada, SEIU 1107, NSEA, Planned Parenthood of Southern Nevada, and Human Rights Campaign were among the many progressive groups that joined Culinary on the Strip Monday.
Before the march began, I spoke with Culinary Union Secretary Treasurer Geoconda Arguello-Kline. She promised attendance in the thousands. She also insisted that the march was about way more than just Donald Trump and his actions.
“We want to send a message to Donald Trump: This country is united. We will never be divided. We won’t let him divide us by race, or by religion.” – Geoconda Arguello-Kline, Culinary Union
Indeed, the very path of the march signaled a larger message. The march began a short walk away from the Trump Las Vegas hotel. Protesters then marched past the Venetian and Palazzo resort casinos, the Nevada properties owned by anti-union Republican Party mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. They later ended their march at the Palms Casino, which is now owned by long-time labor movement arch-nemesis Station Casinos.
I was taken aback by not just the breadth of the crowd, but also the depth… And the diversity. There were young and old; black, brown, and white; queer and straight; Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and others; immigrants and natives. They all converged on Las Vegas Boulevard South to send a message to the White House, Congress, and the broader community: They refuse to let any politician divide them with hateful language.
Most of the demonstrators marched all the way from Treasure Island to the Palms, causing a sea of humanity visible from the Las Vegas Strip and the I-15 Freeway.
Once the crowd arrived at the foot of the Palms Casino, they were greeted by festive music, additional food and water, and speakers to keep the rally going. Eventually, the crowd dispersed and went home. Organizers are hoping the spirit of activism that ignited during Trump’s inauguration will continue long past May. With Congress stalling much of Trump’s agenda thus far, there are early signs that this activism may be making a difference.