Venturans march for a CAUSE on May Day


Senior Leti Gutierrez and junior Eli Zarate outside the Museum of Ventura County on Wednesday, May 1. “[CAUSE is] really local here on the Avenue,” Zarate said. “It’s just an organization to get involved in the community and you gain lots of leadership skills and it’s community service.” Photo by: Micah Wilcox

Micah Wilcox

Members of CAUSE, or Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy, marched down Ventura Avenue to the Museum of Ventura County on Main Street to commemorate International Labor Day on May 1.

“Today is May 1, which is May Day, the international day of the worker,” said Ventura High School senior Leticia Gutierrez, who helped lead the march.

“So really as CAUSE, we wanted to come and not only celebrate our workers, our immigrant workers, our farmworkers, every worker really because they’re the ones that are feeding us, the ones that are building our houses and they deserve to also be able to live in the community that they’re building up.”

“So really we were not only celebrating them but also fighting for our right to housing because rent prices are going up, the cost of living is going up, and it’s really becoming a crisis and we don’t want this crisis to worsen,” said Gutierrez, who also said that “we want to take some [preventative] measures like city ordinances and state laws to prevent the crisis from getting worse.”

International Labor Day has been celebrated since the 1880s, according to CNN. Per CNN, May 1 “aligned with the anniversary of the Haymarket affair in Chicago, where police killed four people at a peaceful protest after someone threw a bomb into the crowd.”

When asked about what CAUSE has done regarding issues like the cost of living in Ventura, junior Eli Zarate said, “For both farmworker’s rights and housing, we’ve attended city council meetings and we’ve addressed certain issues like homelessness and we’ve pushed for a shelter,” which Zarate and Gutierrez said is under construction. “As for farmworkers’ rights, we’ve addressed the issue of pesticides and salary.”

Listen to the full interview with Gutierrez and Zarate here.

Gutierrez also said that CAUSE provided farmworkers with masks during the Thomas and Woolsey Fires, and noted that CAUSE endorsed Propositions 10 and 5 in the 2018 midterm election.

“CAUSE is definitely open to any youth, so, if you want to get involved, like, feel free to, I don’t know, come up to us, ask us questions,” said Zarate.

Gutierrez said, “You learn a lot of insight about the injustices that are going on in the community that you might have not been aware of.

“I definitely knew that there were injustices but I didn’t know the degree of it until I really started working and seeing the fact that these inequities aren’t just a coincidence and they’re very systemic and there’s real deep roots to oppression in the way that our systems and our communities are being set up to actually harm us and not really build us up and we need to break those systems so that we can all build up.”

Students can contact CAUSE on Instagram at @CAUSE805.