An exciting & unique coalition forms to fight Bush
Wednesday, May 4, 2005
May 7 in DC details
The May 7 People’s Speak-Out is shaping up as one of the most unique and exciting coalition events in Washington DC. This will be an informative and uniting event bringing together a broad, diverse coalition of labor, students, religious and antiwar organizations.
Under the banner “The People Unite to Defeat the Bush Program,” the May 7 event is part of a rising crescendo of struggle against Bush’s domestic and foreign program. We can defeat this program through mass struggle. In addition to hearing from and learning about the wide-range of community, labor, youth, anti-war and other associated movements, various movements will have the opportunity to draw closer to each other as a result of the May 7 event. We hope you tell your friends and family to join us this Saturday.
Below is a fascinating biographical material about the presenters at the People’s Speak-Out.
The People Unite to Defeat the Bush Program
National People’s Speak-Out in Washington, DC Saturday, May 7
Plymouth Congregational Church
5301 North Capitol Street NE (at Riggs Road) Washington, DC at 12 noon Doors open at 11 am. Music will begin prior to the program.
Directions: – By metro: Exit at Fort Totten station on the red/green line. A free shuttle will be provided to take you to and from the church. When you exit the metro station, look for volunteers with signs directing you to the shuttle. – By bus: Take the 60, 64, K2, K6, E2, E3, E4. – By car: Parking is available. There is street parking in the area directly north and east of the church. You can also park at the metro station – there is a small metered parking lot and a larger lot that is free on the weekends. You would then walk to the metro station exit to find the shuttle to the church.
Important information: – English to Spanish translation will be provided. Headsets can be requested at the entry to the church sanctuary. – The church is wheelchair accessible.
Speakers & Performers will include:
Reverend Graylan Hagler Senior Minister, Plymouth Congregational Church Reverend Graylan Hagler is the Senior Minister at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ and the National President of Ministers for Racial, Social, and Economic Justice. He has been one of the leading voices in the U.S. anti-war movement over the last several years. Rev. Hagler has also been a recognized leader in the effort to win support for workers fighting for union rights. He has been involved in groundbreaking nationwide struggle to make affordable housing accessible to working class families.
Mahdi Bray Executive Director, Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation Imam Mahdi Bray is a long time civil and human rights activist. He is currently the Executive Director of the Muslim American Society (MAS) Freedom Foundation, and the President of the Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations (CCMO). He also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice and the Interfaith Alliance, and on the advisory board of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. He has been a leading organizer in the antiwar movement and the movement to defend members of the Muslim community who have been unjustly investigated and detained.
Rashida Roberts Georgetown Hunger striker After three years of organizing for a Living Wage for all Georgetown University campus workers, the Living Wage Coalition called for a hunger strike: coalition members would not consume food again until this university has accepted all of their demands by adopting a Living Wage policy based firmly on costs of living in DC. Rashida Roberts, a senior at Georgetown, was one of those hunger strikers. On the 9th day of the hunger strike, March 23, Georgetown University announced the adoption of a comprehensive Just Employment Policy that includes a Living Wage.
Steve Hardy, Hattie Howard and Harold Andrews SEIU Local 82 (Service Employees International Union) Steve Hardy, Hattie Howard and Harold Andrews are workers at Howard University and members of SEIU Local 82 which represents over 7,000 janitors in the Washington DC area, including the workers at Howard University. Since September 2004, members of SEIU Local 82 at Howard University have been struggling for a living wage increase. Many workers make as little as $8.65 per hour, but one of the major problems faced by all workers is the lack of staffing. The speakers will highlight the problems they face on Howard University campus and the struggle that has led to a wage increase for all workers.
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard Partnership for Civil Justice Mara Verheyden-Hilliard is the co-founder, along with Carl Messineo, of the Partnership for Civil Justice, a public interest law firm in Washington, DC that handles constitutional law, civil rights, women’s rights and economic justice matters. She represents progressive political activists and organizations in numerous First Amendment cases fighting widespread violations of free speech rights, including class action claims arising from mass arrests and brutality at anti-globalization and anti-war demonstrations. She is lead counsel in litigation against the City of New York and Mayor Bloomberg over the right of protestors to hold mass assemblies in Central Park and its Great Lawn. She is on the National Steering Committee of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition and co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee.
Vanessa Dixon DC Healthcare Coalition Vanessa Dixon is a community organizer and a founding member of the DC Health Care Coalition, established to save DC General Hospital, formerly the only public hospital in the Nation’s Capital. The coalition now seeks to restore a public hospital to ensure equal access to quality health care for all regardless of ability to pay.
Members of Empower DC Members of Empower DC – the District of Columbia Grassroots Empowerment Project – will describe the work of this community organization dedicated to organizing and developing the leadership skills of the people most affected by the city’s pressing social problems. Empower DC’s major program activities are the preservation and production of affordable housing for low and moderate income residents, and the prevention of displacement of long-term residents; and securing the availability of quality, affordable childcare for low- and moderate-income working parents. They will also describe the impact of Bush’s proposed budget, particularly with regards to housing.
Printing Publishing Media Workers Sector, Communications Workers of America (CWA) The Mailers and Helpers at the Washington Post – the workers who package the paper for delivery – have been working without a contract for almost two years. The Utility Mailers, who are almost all people of color, do the same work as a Journeyman Mailer – but they get paid less than half as much. And there’s no way to move up for better pay. Most can’t even afford health coverage. The CWA-PPMWS is calling for equal pay for equal work. Those in the Washington DC area may have seen their advertisements with the slogan “Equal Work. Unequal Pay. It doesn’t add up at the Washington Post.” In its contract talks with its Mailers and Helpers, the Washington Post is also trying to take away overtime pay for extra hours worked.
Ricardo Juarez Mexicanos Sin Fronteras and Woodbridge Workers Committee The Workers Committee of Woodbridge is a project of Mexicanos Sin Fronteras (Mexicans Without Borders), an immigrant community based organization located in the tri-state region of Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC. On October 19, 2004, over two dozen workers from Woodbridge, including members of the Workers Committee of Woodbridge and Mexicanos Sin Fronteras, were arrested on misdemeanor loitering charges (declared unconstitutional by the federal Supreme Court) while seeking employment. Of these, at least ten were turned over to federal immigration authorities and eight faced imminent deportation. This unprecedented police action generated a public outcry locally, regionally and nationally. Since then, the committee has been working closely with supporters and community organizations to obtain justice for the workers.
Macrina Cardenas Mexico Solidarity Network The Mexico Solidarity Network struggles for democracy, economic justice and human rights on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. MSN is a grassroots-based organization dedicated to profound social change that challenges existing power relationships and builds alternatives.
Brenda Stokely President of District Council 1707 AFSCME Co-Chair of New York City Labor Against the War Brenda Stokely is the President of District Council 1707 AFSCME in New York City and the Co-Chair of New York City Labor Against the War. She has been a leader in the anti-war movement. She, along with other members of New York City Labor Against the War and other progressive unionists, has organized worker delegations to participate in anti-war protests. She was a leading spokesperson for the Million Worker March. District Council 1707 represents more than 7,000 daycare teachers and workers in New York City. Many of these workers receive extremely low pay as they provide an invaluable service for mainly low income children in the New York City area.
Ramsey Clark Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark is an international human rights lawyer and activist. He was Attorney General in the Johnson Administration. As a lawyer he has represented well-known political prisoners, such as Native American prisoner Leonard Peltier, Philip Berigan, Lori Berinson and many others. Ramsey Clark traveled to North Vietnam, Iran, Libya, Grenada, Panama, Yugoslavia, Palestine, Sudan, Iraq and elsewhere to expose the true impacts and aim of U.S. foreign policy.
Ben Dupuy General Secretary, National Popular Party of Haiti (PPN) Ben Dupuy is the Secretary General of the National Popular Party, Co-Director of Haiti Progres, former Ambassador At Large for the government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide (1991-1993), and Publisher of Haiti Progres newspaper, the most widely read Haitian weekly, which is based in Brooklyn, New York.
Michael Berg (message) Father of Nicholas Berg Michael Berg’s son, Nicholas, was killed in Iraq in 2004. Michael has been an outspoken opponent of the occupation of Iraq.
Brian Becker National Coordinator, A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition Brian Becker is the National Coordinator of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition. He was the principal organizer and spokesperson for the massive anti-war demonstrations in Washington, DC between October 26, 2002, and today. He has debated frequently on national television and radio representing the anti-war movement. In addition to lecturing at universities and college campuses, Brian’s essays have appeared in numerous books on the Iraq war, Yugoslavia, and Korea. He was the co-coordinator of the Korea Truth Commission. Brian is currently a member of the editorial board of the magazine Socialism and Liberation.
Alina Serrano Casa Atabex Women’s Group NYC Alina Serrano has been an activist in the Vieques Support Campaign and the SLAM! student group at Hunter College in New York City. At 22 years old, she is already a veteran of student and community activism. She is member of the Casa Atabex women’s group, fighting for funding for women’s shelters in the Bronx at a time when billions of dollars are being siphoned into the war.
Jeanette Caceres Student New York University Jeanette Caceres, 20 years old, is a student at New York University. In addition to anti-war activism in her school, she is part of the fight against gentrification in Harlem, where she lives. She has been active in a struggle to win a Latino Studies program at NYU.
Shawn Garcia Puerto Rican Community Youth Activist, NYC Shawn Garcia, 21 years old, has been active in a number of groups, including the ProLibertad Youth group, dedicated to building support for the Puerto Rican political prisoners held in U.S. prisons and building support for the Puerto Rican national liberation struggle. He has been active in educating members of his community to be active in a broad political struggle against the U.S. government war at home and around the world.
Peta Lindsay National Youth & Student Coordinator, A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition Peta Lindsay is the National Youth & Student Coordinator of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition. She became involved in the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition while attending School Without Walls Senior High in September 2001 and is currently a student at Howard University. Peta has worked as a HIV peer outreach worker with the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL) in Washington DC, and while in middle school in Philadelphia was an activist in the Student Union, which organized and campaigned for funding for Philadelphia public schools.
Ana Edwards Defenders for Freedom, Justice and Equality Ana Edwards is a founding member of The Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality, an organization of Richmond, Virginia area residents working for the survival of their community through education and social justice activities. She is the chair of the Sacred Ground Historical Restoration Project of the Defenders, which is working to reclaim a more than 200-year-old Black cemetery that today lies abandoned and unmarked under a downtown Richmond parking lot. The project is also leading a campaign to stop the construction of a baseball stadium in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom district, once the site of one of the largest slave-trading areas in the country. Ana is the descendant of two enslaved Africans sold out of Shockoe Bottom in the 1840s, and is an artist and working mother of two sons.
Tenants’ Rights & Affordable Housing
* Betty Sellers, Tenant Action Network
* Jim McGrath, Director, Tenant’s Advocacy Network (TENAC)
* Lester Cuffie, Executive Director, DC Coalition for Housing Justice
* (invited) DC Tenants’ Alliance Several DC area housing groups will be represented to discuss the critical issues of housing, tenants’ rights, rent control and the displacement and gentrification taking place in the District of Columbia and across the country.
N’COBRA: National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America N’COBRA is a coalition of organizations and individuals committed to the economic, cultural, intellectual, political, social, and spiritual empowerment of Black people in the United States. They say, “We want our just inheritance: the trillions of dollars due us for the labor of our ancestors who worked for hundreds of years without pay. We demand the resources required removing all badges and indicia of slavery.”
Upward Bound Upward Bound is a program created under Johnson’s “Great Society” to provide college preparatory opportunities to the children from working class families. It provides tutoring as well as SAT prep and college visits, and it also waives application fees and other things, attempting to remove the barriers many low income children face in trying to attend an institution of higher learning
Gael Murphy CodePink: Women for Peace Gael Murphy is a co-creator of CodePink, a women initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement that seeks positive social change through proactive, creative protest and non-violent direct action.
Also, hear the newly-formed jazz quartet of progressive musicians, including Carl Cornwell on saxophone, Henry Lindsay on guitar, Matt Murray on bass, and a guest drummer. Carl Cornwell has played saxophone with Gil Scott-Heron and piano with Pharoah Sanders. He was formerly in the band Unit Circle. Henry Lindsay has worked with Nancy Wilson and Irene Reid. He has played in a number of Broadway shows. Matt Murray is a classically trained bass player with a masters degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. He plays freelance in the Washington DC area.
The event will be co-MCed by Jane English, representing the Plymouth Congregational UCC Board of Social Action, and Eugene Puryear, representing the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition.