[August 30, 2004]
The March For Our Lives: Stop the War At Home began with a rally at the UN.
The following artists performed:
|Immortal Technique – New York – Hip Hop Activist Group|
|Musician and Activist – Steve Earl|
The following are excerpts of speeches.
|National Council of Churches – Bob Edgar
Dr King said, “We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.” This may well be humankind’s last chance to choose between chaos and community. As we gather here in this plaza, let us remind ourselves of Dr. King’s dream, let us remind ourselves of the value of nonviolence, let us call upon God to be with us in this action, let us stand up when others tell us to sit down and speak out when others tell us to be silent. A group of us are going to gather in prayer tomorrow evening at Riverside Church here in New York, and at 7-o-clock tomorrow evening with the help of Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary, people of all faith’s traditions are going to pray for the poor, gonna pray for justice, gonna pray for peace. May the spark of this day be a spark that leads us into the future. And may us all remember as we touch each other’s shoulder that we have a shoulder to count on, and a shoulder that we must place our hand on as a reminder that the children of Sudan, the children of Baghdad, the children of New York and Washington, the children of America are counting on us to seek justice, to bring hope and to make a difference on our fragile planet we call Earth. God be with you.
|Coalition to Protect Public Housing – Chicago, IL – Barbara Moore
I’m here representing the Coalition to Protect Public Housing and Cabrini Green. I’m here to tell President Bush: “America the Beautiful”, but beautiful for whom? Is it just for the rich, the famous and the politicians? Do poor people in America have a dream of being successful every year, do we have to go to Iraq or Iran where Bush has sent all the money to get a decent safe and sanitary housing? Mr. Bush, please, help us before we have blood on our streets in America like the blood on the streets in Iraq and Iran, because we are not gonna let our children go hungry and have nowhere to live. Please help us, Mr. Bush.
|PPEHRC: New York City Chapter – New York, NY – Ronald Casanova
I am a homeless person, but I’m a homeless person who’s alive. I got the virus, but I’m alive. I got about thirty or forty more years to go, and I’m gonna fight for the rest of my life just like you guys are. All I’ve got to say to you guys is if you’re serious, if you really want to make changes, then let’s go get Bush.
|Michigan Welfare Rights Organization – Detroit, MI – Marian Kramer
It’s quite an honor to be out here today, but it brings tears to our eyes to see that many people are beginning to join the army to eliminate poverty not just in the United States but throughout the world. We have to get rid of the terrorists, not just Bush but his whole empire, to make sure that our children will be able to have a future. Today make sure that this is the beginning, that you join this fight, the fight for economic human rights, not just here but throughout the world. Thank you for being here and thank you for giving me the honor to be a part of you.
| Women’s Economic Agenda Project
What a joyful day! We are in the fight for our lives, we are ready for it, we traveled three thousand miles to say to those who would think they can intimidate us into silence, we reject that. To those that think they can continue to rob our lives, to take our health care, our housing, our jobs and our dignity, we reject that. They think they might be able to keep us from bringing together the leaders of truth, hardworking people who built this country, who are marching for our constitutional rights, we are here to say that you are here for the fight of your life because we are marching not only for the people who are here within the sound of voice, but for the millions who are suffering without healthcare, in misery and in silence. We lift our voices today in unity, we will fight for economic human rights, and we will never be silent.
|Deaf and Deaf-Blind Committee on Human Rights – Cleveland, OH – Nicole Mitchart
So many people have problems and issues, it is very sad. And so we would like to break those barriers, we have terrible experiences within the deaf community. Myself, I have migraines and can’t seem to get into the doctor. The doctor only gives me superficial reasons as to why I’m sick because I can’t even afford to go there. I have to buy the cheapest food I can find just so I can eat. Our house mortgage keeps increasing; it never stays the same because the taxes keep going up. I’m afraid to lose our house, my husband is the only one who works, and he is also deaf. He’s worked for 13 years and seems to be gaining nothing and is not succeeding. We have to live from check to check and we can’t afford to live on loans. We can’t get interpreters to open up communications, and we feel like our human rights have not been met and we would like that attention brought here too.
|Women in Transition – Louisville, KY – Kiona Black
Good afternoon. My name is Kiona Black. I am from Louisville, Kentucky, representing Women in Transition. I’m here today letting our government and our nation know we will be heard. Our needs will be met. We are not invisible, we’re here! Thank you!
|ADAPT- Philadelphia, PA – Jimmy
People are being incarcerated against their will, without the benefit of a trial, without the right to talk to a lawyer. I’m talking about our sisters and brothers with disabilities who are locked up in nursing homes and institutions every day for lack of community-based home services, for the lack of this money because the nursing home industry is a great big multi-billion dollar industry that has grown off the cash cow of people with disabilities. We who are in ADAPT are fighting to free our brothers, to free our sisters, and to free our people. We ask you to join us and to help us fight, talk to your local congresspeople and senators and tell them you support a bill called Mi Casa. Mi Casa is the key to saving people.
| POWER – San Francisco, CA – Steve Williams
We need to end homelessness in this country. All over the globe there are people without housing, without food. George Bush instead of sending food, instead of sending money, he sends bombs. He sends jails to our communities. We say that that shit has got to stop. And it has got to stop today. And we know that he won’t stop it. We know that the democrats won’t stop it. The only people that will stop it are the people in the streets. And that is why they can bring out all the police they want, they can drop all the bombs they want, but we know that we are sick and tired of being treated like less than human beings. As the people in San Francisco say. We’re Fired Up! Won’t take it no more. We’re Fired Up! Won’t take it no more.
|NOW – Olga Vives
“We are here in solidarity with you today to say no to the Bush Agenda. This Bush Administration is wrong. It has created chaos in the United States and around the world. We are hated abroad, and here at home we suffer because of their policies. It is a shame that the richest country in the world allows 12 million children to go to be hungry every night. It is a shame that the richest country in the world allows women of color to get 55 cents for dollar that a man makes. It is a shame that the richest country in the world throws women off of welfare without a job, without job training. Promoting marriage is a failed policy. It is a shame that working across the streets of this country, this rich country, are people with no shelter, no medical care, no jobs, and no hope. We are here today to demand change. To demand an end to the war in Iraq.”
|Episcopal Diocese of New York – Michael Kendell
“The problem that we are having in this country is that there is a housing program and it is called jails. We have an employment program, it is called the military. We would have a health program and food, but we are at war. We have got to get out of the business of war, out of the business of giving too much money to the rich. The gap between the rich and poor is growing and is the worst in New York State. And we have got to get back to work for the needs of human beings. This isn’t just a jobs program or a housing program. This is about life and death. People are dieing in this city and across this nation because they do not have food, they do not have housing, they do not have healthcare, they do not have jobs. They tell us in New York State that the churches, the synagogues, and the mosques, can open up soup kitchens. And what do they do? They cut the food money. Then they cut section 8. Housing is a right. So is healthcare and so are jobs. Lets go to work for that.”
|Coalition of Immokalee Workers – Immokalee, FL – Gerardo Reyes-Chavez
“It is great to be here with you all today. We imagine that many of you know that we have a national boycott of Taco Bell. And this boycott started precisely because of the violations of Human rights that we as farmworkers face everyday in this country. The right to a decent wage doesn’t exist in the agricultural industry. The right to organize and be recognized as a union of workers does not exist in the agricultural industry. The right to work free from slavery. Talking about slavery we just finished a case where over 700 workers were forced to work at gun point in the fields of Florida. We are here today in front of the United Nations to say that we as farmworkers and none of us as low wage workers and poor are going to tolerate any more, these violations of human rights. Thank you “
| Organize! Ohio – Cleveland, OH – Larry Bresler
“What kind of nation are we living in when our infant mortality rate is at third world levels. Where we are the only industrialized nation in the world that does not have universal healthcare. We have one class of education for the wealthy. And second class education for those that are not. A homeless population that gets larger and larger and larger. That is not the mark of a might nation. A good progressive nation, a might nation, is one that recognizes economic human rights. We have to demand on a neighborhood level, on a community level, on a state level, and certainly on a national level, for social justice and our economic human rights. Thank you “
|AFSCME 1707 – New York – Brenda Stokely
“Why do we take over the streets? Because people need to speak for themselves! It means that you are out speaking for yourself, but equally as important, it means you are are organizing for yourself. Because nothing absolutely nothing, in this country or in the world has ever changed unless the people who are oppressed, rose up, organized, and took over and made things the way that they need to be made in this country. We are not going to get jobs, we are not going to get childcare, and we are not going to get healthcare, unless we make it happen. And that is what this is all about. The next march is going to be October the 17th. Be there because those are working people, which all of us, whether you have been laid off, whether you have never worked, maybe they have you doing slave labor as a welfare recipient, whatever it is you are not part of the wealthy class. You are part of working people. And that is who is going to be speaking and marching on the 17th.”
|New Jerusalem – Philadelphia, PA – Sister Margaret McKenna
“I come from New Jerusalem Now which is a community of people, there are thirty of us here today from Philadelphia, North Philadelphia. I am happy that God is definitely on our side today. I am happy to be marching with God and his people today.”
|National Association of Social Workers: New Jersey chapter – Renee Wolf
“I am here today representing the peace and social justice taskforce of the National Association of Social Workers of New Jersey and Poor Voices United a group of poor people from Atlantic City New Jersey. I am here today joined with my fellow social workers to fight for the rights that every human being should have when they are born. The right to food, housing and education. Today I call on all social workers to join this fight because until the policies of the US change, there are going to be two people in line for every one person we try to help. I know with our collective power we are going to get all of our economic human rights.”
|Rochester Poor People United – Rochester, NY – Charles Kellum
“I just want to say that it was a struggle for us to get here today. We had to wash cars, we had to beg for money in order to make this trip and at the last minute we had about 20 people who wanted to go with us and they couldn’t make it. And I said that for all those people that couldn’t make it that we would make sure their voices were heard– that they understood, that poor people understand that this is a struggle for our rights to exist, for our rights to survive. And I want to come up here and say “get rid of Bush, no more Bush, no more four years.”
|United for Peace and Justice – Leslie Cagan
“I don’t know if you all can see yourselves, but you look terrific, you look beautiful. It is wonderful to be here with you, yesterday many of you marched with us and we know that the struggle for peace is totally and completely linked to the struggle for economic justice here at home and around the world. When working people and poor people stand together, not only unified in this country but with working people and poor people all around the world, that’s when we become strong enough to actually turn things around. Peace will come in the world when there is social and economic justice in the world. “
|Loring Nicollet Alternative School – Minneapolis, MN – Rachle Hamilton
“There are women out there that are raising their children all across the United States, and 95% of those women live under the poverty level, and we know the poverty level is way too low. What we need to do now is go out and protect those children and this march is one way we can do it. We have those that are marching who have family members who are in prison. We have the largest prison population of any civilized nation. Lets get out there and walk and march and let this government know what we are all about.
|Justice, Economic Dignity, and Independence for Women – Salt Lake City, UT – Bonnie Macri|
|The Empowerment Center – Cleveland, OH – Luther Smith
“I am a Korean Vet, and the Bush administration has cut the pensions critically and they have added extra surcharges to the medications. I am also a community activist in Ohio and we want Bush out!”
|People to End Homelessness – Providence, RI – Catherine Rhodes
“I want to share with you all a story of what happened to me in New York City while I was marching and documenting the Economic Human Rights Violations in the city. I happened to go to Tompkins Square with a bunch of other really loving and caring people including Cas who was showing us around. I was given the honor of sitting down next to a woman who was with her bags. She was sitting on the park bench and she was sleeping and I didn’t wake her up. And I sat with her for about 15 minutes and I said ‘my God what has this country come to?’ and I started to walk away and as I was walking away, a gentleman in uniform came up and tapped her on the shoulder and said “excuse me ma’am but there is no sleeping allowed in the park” this woman, a 60 year-old white woman taking a nap sitting up in the park was given a ticket and a summons to go to a New York City court district. That is what this world is coming to. Time to get Bush out!”
|Social Welfare Action Alliance – (national) – Jennifer Jones
“The Social Welfare Action Alliance is here, and a member of the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign. Whether you have food or you do not have food; whether you need health care or don’t have health care… We are in a fight for our lives. Look around make no mistake, poor people did this. There are no more violent acts of terrorism than the systematic starvation of children in the richest country in the world.”
|Alternatives for Developing Change – Chico, CA – Sarah Frohock|
|Kensington Welfare Rights Union – Philadelphia, PA – Galen Tyler|
|Labor Party – Mark Dudzic
“The Labor Party is made up of hundreds of thousands of unions and poor people’s organizations around the country. We have come here to stand in solidarity with the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. The people of this country have a right to healthcare. The people of this country have a right to a job.”
|Industrial Union Council – New Jersey – Bill Kane
“It is great to be here with the people who believe and respect the constitution of the United States. We are here at the United Nations for a specific reason. We’re here because the world needs to know that it is not just so called third world countries that have human rights violations. It is here in the United States of America that we need to build this movement. And today that is exactly what we are doing.”