May 1st, Primero de Mayo, is celebrated worldwide in recognition of workers’ rights, when women and men, young and old, ethnic origins and social classes unite for a common cause. How ironic that International Workers’ Day was founded in the United States by people walking off their jobs and insisting upon an 8-hour work day and humane working conditions. Today, though celebrated in hundreds of countries around the world, May 1st goes by without a peep in the U.S. Well, in the province of Cañar, Ecuador, thousands still take to the streets (or the Pan American highway), joyously and honorably. Marchers between El Tambo and Cañar fashioned their signs of protest and solidarity, making this May Day one of camaraderie and determination.
As ones of thousands walking at quite a clip, up and down this 12 kilometer stretch along the Pan American Highway on a hot and getting hotter day, Judy B and I jumped into the fray. With our cameras, digital audio recorder and iPhone, we were intent on capturing images, sounds and interviews for the next Voces de Cañar segment. The heat and uphill climb was abated by the wave of solidarity in this on-going lucha for justice and equality. We hope this segment conveys the strength, beauty and vision reflected by the Cañari people. It is through our whole (sweaty) beings that we exercise freedom of speech. This day was inspiring and confirming. How to bring this determination into our daily actions, well, more challenging. Viva la lucha por la dignidad humana. ¡Viva el Día del Trabajo!
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