It is during this day of the year when the working class comes together not only in the Philippines, but also across the world: the International Workers’ Day, or simply Labor Day, during the first of May.
Called “Araw ng mga Manggagawa” in the Philippines, people band together and march under the blistering heat of the sun to voice out their grievances and to advocate for their rights. It is an event participated in by many, led by laborers, workers, activists and advocates, as well as the youth.
On a typical summer day, they could be at the beach, enjoying the heat of the sun, just like others. But every first of May, they choose to be one with the plight of the laborers—still basking under the sun, only with a different kind of heat: the heat of camaraderie.
Perhaps it may still come as a surprise to some, but there are members of the youth sector who participate in symbolic events such as the Labor Day rallies. And these youths are usually the leaders in their own locales, such as student-leaders from schools and universities, and leaders in local youth organizations. They believe that as young as they are, they should be one with the masses and be in-the-know of the social issues that our society is facing.
But of course, it’s not only in Manila where youth leaders join in the mobilizations during May 1. The Labor Day rallies are also held in different parts of the country by different groups of people. It’s the same day with a different set of people, but united by the same purpose. As in the case in Angeles City, Pampanga, the youth sector joined the People’s Forum and Unity March organized by All Workers Unity-Central Luzon.
Today’s youth are the leaders of tomorrow. We hold the power to evoke the changes our world needs. All we need to do is to recognize our capabilities, be aware of the issues at hand, and, most importantly, be courageous enough to take the first step to action. The decisions and small steps we make today can one day make ripples that catalyze change.
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