Between filming, directing, and editing the web exclusives on SamanthaBee.com, Ana Breton – who also builds said site – keeps busy with her full-time job as a digital producer for news satire program Full Frontal With Samantha Bee. Then, Breton goes home and begins answering emails for what has become like a second job in the last few months. Over the weekend and on nights, Breton – along with a group of about 30 – has planned La Marcha de Mayo, a May 6 rally and protest celebrating immigrants. Balancing both is overwhelming – as she honestly admits – but given the hostility toward immigrants and marginalized communities, Breton knew she couldn’t stand idly by, even it meant making her own life more complicated.
“I am not a professional political activist at all,” she tells me over the phone. “I think we’re living in a time that you kind of have to become an activist. You just have to. If you want something to change, you have to get people to move and get people to change the things that they’re doing, get people to vote.”
Earlier this year, Breton – and her Full Frontal co-workers – attended the Women’s March on Washington. Like many other attendees, she felt inspired and wanted to do more. When she returned to New York, she began looking for immigration marches or rallies that she could join. At the time, nothing popped up. And she likely could have waited for others to take the initiative – because as she said, “now there’s a bunch” – but she felt there was too much at stake to sit around and do nothing. So starting in January, she began organizing La Marcha de Mayo. And as soon as she launched the Facebook event page, she realized others also felt an urgency to take action. To date, nearly 12,000 have shown interest in the event.
But it didn’t stop there. People, from inside and outside New York, quickly began to flood her inbox, so they could learn how they could get involved. That’s why the team now includes members who reside in Colorado and Pennsylvania. One volunteer, for example, traveled down from Connecticut this weekend to help with the group’s fundraiser.
Just getting permits to host a rally and hiring a crew to clean up will run the organizers about $5,000. So on Saturday, Breton and the rest of the 30-people team held a fundraiser. The organizers raised about $4,000. And though the group has almost met its goal, it’s still raising money on its website, LaMarchadeMayo.com. The team is also selling La Marcha de Mayo T-shirts that will go toward rally expenses. Even if you can’t attend the rally, hitting the donate button or buying a T-shirt – available only until April 15 – will go a long way toward helping the immigrant community. The group will donate any of the leftover money to its lead sponsor, Mixteca Organization – a New York-based group providing services and resources for the Latino immigrant community.
What Breton has managed to pull off so far is impressive, especially when you consider that this is her first foray into organizing. Breton – who immigrated from Mexico to the US at age 9 – didn’t take Donald Trump seriously in the lead-up to the elections. Like many, she couldn’t fathom a world where he secured the presidency. And while so many negative things are bound to come from a Trump presidency, which will affect her and her loved ones, the fear, frustration, and anger has pushed her to make a difference.
“I moved to New York about three years ago, and I didn’t really feel connected with [the Latino community],” she said. “All the volunteers who are in that community here, we’re now close friends, which sounds crazy because we were strangers a few months ago. I’ve been introduced to just the most wonderful organizations that help Latinos here in New York and it’s been awesome. I’m not planning on stopping. I already told Mixteca that I want to volunteer with them after the march. People are asking what’s going to happen with La Marcha and it might become an organization. Who knows? There’s enough interest that it might become a reality.”
La Marcha de Mayo will take place on May 6 at 11 a.m. It will kick off with a rally at One Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza, 885 2nd Avenue, and follow with a march to Trump Towers. For more information, visit LaMarchadeMayo.com.