Roots of MayDay: Environmental Justice

HOBT’s MayDay Parade, Ceremony, and Festival has always been rooted in two important traditional celebrations — the celebration of the “green root” of Earth’s green energy rising in spring, and the “red root” of human work energy rising from mind, heart and hand. 


Environmental Justice and care for the earth continue to be a root that grounds MayDay. Countless MayDay Parades have focused on environmental themes exploring: the earth as our body and our home, water, Indigenous Rights, the beloved Tree of Life, water protectors and pipeline fighters. On the 45th MayDay we gifted 1,035 trees as an act of gratitude and reciprocity to honor the many gifts the trees have provided -- all the paper and cardboard used to build the puppets, all the slender poles that became frames for puppets, floats and flags, and all the beauty and breath the trees brought us with their Springtime glory. 


It is humbling to be reminded that humans are a part of, not separate from, nature. And in that connection is a sacred call to care for the earth and all who call it home,  as Indigenous peoples have for centuries. By caring for the water, the land, the air, the pollinators, the plants, and the animals around us we care for ourselves and each other.


In 2021 we are excited to launch the Artful Advocates for Environmental Justice Project, a 3-month series of online workshops that through the power of art will inspire elementary-aged youth to fall in love with the earth and see themselves as powerful advocates for the health of our planet. Stay tuned for more details coming early 2021!

FYE appeal web (3)

At HOBT we have been asking “how do we live the spirit of MayDay year-round?” The image of the MayDay Celebration as a seed emerged: a tiny vessel full of power and potential waiting to burst forth.

We are tilling the soil, welcoming in pollinators, readying the compost, and planting the seed of MayDay with strong roots sprouting forth representing our deeply held values: green for Environmental Justice, red for the Labor Movement, purple for Queer Community and brown for BIPOC Leadership. These roots inspire and guide all HOBT programming as we work to embody the values of MayDay in every aspect of our organization.