Vermonters Demand Their Human Rights at Huge May Day Rally

This May Day, the Vermont Workers’ Center brought a range of people’s struggles together under the banner of “Put People First.” Expanding the focus of the now famous “Healthcare Is a Human Right” rallies, held since 2009 in Vermont’s capitol, Montpelier, this year’s event united the Workers’ Center’s health care and People’s Budget campaigns with allied struggles for migrant justice, disability rights, workers’ rights, food and environmental justice, and women’s rights.


The shared demand for human rights, expressed through the principles of universality, equity, transparency, accountability and participation, created a common language and unifying platform. Around a thousand people marched from City Hall to the Statehouse, where the Workers’ Center invited representatives from each group to express their demands for putting people’s needs and rights first. 

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders captured the tenor of the day’s demands in his speech: “We do not want to continue having the dubious distinction of having the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country on earth. We need to pass real tax reform and make sure that all people in this country can live in dignity and with justice.”

In a show of solidarity with the growing human rights movement in Vermont, a NESRI delegation (Cathy, Anja and Joie) took part in the march and rally.



Watch a video of the entire march (at accelerated speed!) here. View or download photos from the march and rally here.

The media coverage was plentiful but often of rather low quality. The Vermont Workers’ Center issued a media report card to incentivize more careful and solid reporting in the future.

Read some of the media coverage here:

WCAX: ‘Put People First’ rally in Montpelier

Toward Freedom:  Thousands Rally in Vermont Capital for International Workers’ Day

CBS / AP: Hundreds Turn Out for May Day Rally in Vt.

VPR News: Hundreds Of Vermonters Rally On May Day

Fox News 44: Hundreds Rally for May Day in Vermont

News Channel 5/ WPTZ: Hundreds Turn Out for May Day Rally in Vt